Budget season for the Derry school district continues to push forward, as the latest meeting between district administration, School Board members and the Fiscal Advisory Committee occurred on November 6 at Derry Village School.
Serving as the second meeting for discussions about the 2018-2019 district budget, members of the administration fully released the proposed budget for the follow school year for evaluation and discussion.
Although there has been a recent focus on enrollment numbers for kindergarten, elementary and middle schools, one of the more severe changes brought up in the proposed budget came from several proposed staff cuts, wherein one Elementary Teacher would be removed from Derry Village, Grinnell Elementary and Ernest P. Barka each, while two English Language Arts Teachers would be removed from Gilbert H. Hood. These changes were proposed due to enrollment for these schools being at or below the school board’s original goal and would save the district four hundred thousand dollars.
In their place, several minor and major staffing roles would be filled across the district. In terms of minor roles, or additional jobs for employees to take on for a minor pay increase, one In-School Suspension position for each middle school, one Transportation Coordinator position and one Team Leader Stipend for the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program would be filled. Major roles, or fully salaried positions, would be a Speech/Language Assistant in the Derry Early Education Program (DEEP), one Special Education teacher for Ernest P. Barka, East Derry Memorial and Grinnell Elementary each, a part time Special Education Teacher for NEXT Charter School and a part time Guidance Counselor at West Running Brook. These additions would come to four hundred and twenty six thousand dollars added to the budget.
No changes were mentioned for the curriculum of the schools, but there were several major requests for technology, including just shy of eighty five thousand dollars to lease three hundred Macbook Air laptops out for four years and over two hundred and fifty five thousand dollars towards network modernization, wherein bandwidth and Wi-Fi access would be maximized to fit current and future standards for the entire district.
An increase of just over sixty three thousand dollars would be needed for several transportation contracts, including two out-of-district and in-district transportation for Special Education students.
There were also talks about how exactly to employee retirement incentives, considering that fourteen staff members retired during the 2016-2017 school year and thirteen more are already excepted to retire at the end of this school year. The proposed budget suggested that instead of putting unassigned year end funds towards the program, they simply budget a specific amount each year towards the retiring employees.
In all, the newly proposed budget would lead to roughly a two million, one hundred and seventy five thousand dollar increase in the district wide budget, bringing it up to eighty five million, seven hundred and thirty three thousand dollars total.
As this proposal is in no way finalized for the next school year, district administration and staff will be holding four meetings in the next two months to discuss and alter the proposal as they see fit, the first meeting of which will take place on November 20. For more information, the fully recorded meeting can be found on the town website, derrynh.org. Select the Town Video tab on the Citizen Action Center section of the front page in order to access it.