Duxbury Public Schools
2012 Annual Budget
This proposed FY2012 budget reflects much thought and awareness of the current fiscal times in which we all live. The largest portion of the operating budget is the fixed costs that are set before we even start the budget process.
Creating a budget has become increasingly difficult these past few years. Due to significant decreases in aid from the State and reduced local revenues, we’ve struggled to just keep up with the fixed costs. But, level funding doesn’t mean level services. Although the town has allocated small increases from one year to the next, our district suffers from a growing disparity between our cost per pupil and the state average. In fact, in 2005 we were $1,400 below the state average in per pupil spending. This past year, we were budgeted $2,400 less per pupil than the state average.
While some might applaud us for providing a good education for our students at a below average cost, one has to wonder what we could achieve if our funding had at least kept pace with the increase in state averages. So, what is our district intending to do with the small increase that the School Committee has approved for the 2011-2012 school year? First, as mentioned we have to cover the fixed costs of bargained contracts and services. Next, we have to pay for utilities, transportation and limited maintenance to our buildings. Lastly, we are in need of replacing middle school science books that are 16 years old.
What can’t we do with the current level of funding? First, we don’t have the resources to revise, create and assess the various areas of our Pre K- 12 curriculum. Often times we have resorted to taking teachers out of their classrooms during the school year to do things that many of the top districts do during the summer. There simply is no money to pay professionals in the summer. Although we have increased the use of instructional technology, we still have many areas that are lacking. For example, Chandler School only has two SmartBoards for the entire school. They need the technology that can support the myriad of learning styles of the students during those critical years. The list goes on in each school.To try to think differently, we were able to lease laptop computers for our teachers at a 0% interest rate. By doing so, we can move the 260 teacher desktops to labs and other student areas to replace computers that are 7-8 years old and can no longer support the education of the 21st Century. In addition, teachers take their laptops with them to do creative work that their school day doesn’t allow.This year's school budget is fiscally responsible, as we aim to meet the needs of our students with limited resources, and to help balance the town budget. We will be ever mindful of our responsibility to our students as the gap between per pupil spending in Duxbury and the state average widens, and ask you to consider whether Duxbury Public Schools are where they should be.