Budget season has finally arrived for the Derry School District and the first meeting for all of those involved with putting it together recently took place at Derry Village School on October 23.
Amongst those in attendance were members of the district’s School Board, the Financial Advisory Committee, who serve as the backbone for these budget discussions, and members of the district’s administration.
Although these discussions are focused upon crafting and reviewing a budget for the 2018 fiscal year, this first meeting exclusively served to familiarize those in attendance with the current status of the district. Fiscal matters are set to be discussed throughout the fall and winter months.
Superintendent Dr. Maryann Connors-Kirkorian and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Dr. Austin Garofalo took charge of the presentation. They began by mentioning their mission statement for the budget before identifying the school board’s three strategic goals for the school year: making sure students are learning at a high level, particularly when it comes to adapting to technology, providing a safe and positive school environment that promotes learning and well being and, finally, increasing community involvement by encouraging students, parents and staff to become more involved in clubs and organizations.
The presentation briefly delved into enrollment stats, with a noteworthy slide showing that the average cost per pupil in Derry, which stands at roughly thirteen thousand, nine hundred dollars for elementary and middle school, is lower than the state average of around fifteen thousand dollars for elementary school and fourteen thousand, three hundred dollars for middle school.
There was some negative news when it came to English and math proficiency, as scores for those two categories in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium showed that for grades three through eight, only forty nine percent of students are meeting expectations in English, as compared to the state average of fifty eight percent, and only forty one percent are meeting expectations in math, as compared to the state average of forty nine percent.
In order to combat this trend, the district has been working on targeted instruction plans for each grade that will help assist students based on what is determined to be their needs, on top of the use of match coaches and the Program for Accelerated and Curriculum Enhancement (PACE).
Continuing on, the presentation delved into the district’s technological status, concerning machines and infrastructures, before then expanding upon the district’s special education programs and Derry Early Education Program (DEEP), showcasing the program’s schedule, benefits and tuition costs.
Finally, the presenters laid out the state of the district’s facilities, laying out the various maintenance projects across all schools and also showcasing the current enrollment for and age of each school located within the district.
Official budget discussions are set to begin on November 6 at Derry Village School, with budget reviews occurring throughout November and December, public hearings taking place in January and a vote on a the final budget to take place in March.