Weather delays start of Falmouth school budget talks

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FALMOUTH — Despite cancellation of the Finance Committee and School Board meetings Tuesday because of weather, the fiscal 2012 school budget process has begun.

A joint meeting between the town and school finance committees last week set the stage for discussions, beginning with a projected shortfall of $800,000 – assuming no further curtailment from the state.

The loss of more than $1.3 million in stimulus funds was offset in part by approximately $500,000 from a Federal Jobs grant the district received last year.

Additionally, interest payments on the bond for the new elementary school will begin in 2012. While the state will pick up 87 percent of the $1.7 million interest that year, that still leaves $222,300 to be paid for from taxes.

The Finance Committee will consider a tiered budget cut proposal similar to the one used during last year’s budget process. Tier 1 budget cuts were as far as the board had to go last year.

This year’s first-tier cuts include several classroom teachers, administrative support, library hours, a study hall monitor, a world language teacher, music teacher and special education teacher.

Tier 2 includes elimination of the world languages program in grades 2-5, custodial services and other options.

Additionally, Tier 2 and 3 budget cuts that were up for consideration last year, but not taken, have also been presented as potential options this year.

The Finance Committee meeting has not yet been rescheduled. The agenda items for the School Board have been moved to the Feb. 7 meeting.

An all-day school budget workshop has been scheduled for March 12 and the budget validation referendum will be held June 7.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or eparkhurst@theforecaster.net

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