As school budgets are being prepared and presented for public review, comment, and voting, I want to encourage people to be certain they understand what their proposed school budget represents. While my specifics speak to the Falmouth schools, I believe this topic is important for all of us – regardless of where we live – as we respond to the educational needs of our children.
Look at what is in the proposed budget: the Falmouth schools website has all the budget documents as well as workshop budget presentations, public comment, and Q&A information. Look at previous years’ budget figures: in Falmouth the proposed school operating budget is actually less than that approved by the voters last year. If you wonder why the mil rate would increase, even with a decrease in the operating budget, remember that the state has been cutting school funding levels for several years: state support of the Falmouth schools has decreased about $2.1 million over the past four years, and this is the first time the School Board has asked the taxpayers to help address these losses; the other portion of the mil increase is funding for the construction of the new elementary school that voters agreed to support in 2008.
I believe that the proposed Falmouth school budget absorbs as much as it can (including making staff and program cuts), while still maintaining strong education opportunities for our students, and thus warrants our support. I would ask you to support it as well.