Tough Springfield school budget
After reading Friday’s article on the Springfield school budget, I felt it was important to clarify both the process the administration took in creating our budget request and the actual product itself. The proposal from administration would see a 3.4 percent increase from this year’s local budget, not 9.4 percent as reported in the article. Most of that 3.4 percent increase comes from increased contractual obligations to staff.
Earlier this fall, we were tasked by the board to present a “needs” budget. They wanted to see what was needed in order to provide the level of educational outcomes that Springfield desires. So, we did develop a proposal that would have represented a 9.4 percent increase over this year, but one that we were confident would push the district toward the improvements we would all like to see.
Once we had fulfilled the board’s request, we then took a hard look at the fiscal reality for the town and made additional challenging cuts. Most of these “cuts” were eliminations of new requests we made in the needs budget. Therefore, most of the cuts listed in the article were from this needs budget as opposed to existing programs. We worked hard as a group to get our proposal to a number that would bring the overall budget underneath the state’s excess-spending threshold. Once a district hits this threshold, additional spending gets taxed a second time.
These were difficult cuts to make, but we want the town to know that we are responsible stewards of its tax dollars. In addition, we now will begin the process of working with the Budget Committee to reexamine our work.
If individuals would like to get a clearer picture of the proposal, they can visit the Springfield [School] District website and see all the current budget documents.
(Assistant school district superintendent)