As we approach Town Meeting Day, it is important to understand where we are with the proposed Spaulding High School budget for the 2012-2013 school year, and its impact upon our students and taxpayers.
The proposed 2012-2013 budget for SHS is $11,293,431, which is $131,763 less than last year’s budget, and a 1 percent budget decrease overall.
In November 2011, we learned we were facing a nearly $130,000 deficit from the 2010-2011 budget, so the SHS administration and the Leadership Team immediately froze SHS’s budget to try and get things under control. Since then, faculty and staff have been helping to address the deficit by tightening the belt with materials, books and supplies. During the SHS budget process, the superintendent, school board, and administration decided to include the deficit in the 2012-2013 proposed school budget, putting us back on solid ground.
We have reduced staff judiciously in response to declining enrollment over the past few years. In 2011-2012, we eliminated one science position, one .5 technology education position, one .5 business position, and our CSL program. We have tried to be responsive to the decline in enrollment, yet protective of educational quality for our students.
Another step we have taken at SHS was to begin to address Special Education costs. Last year, we developed both the Granite Academy and the ACT Program to offer special education students a rigorous academic education at SHS. Thus, these special education students, who were formerly out-of-district at a price between $45,000 and $60,000, are now receiving a solid academic education at, or near, the $12,250 costs for all SHS students. Thus, we are spending much less, while giving these students a better education at SHS.
Spaulding High School’s solid academic and athletic programs remain intact in this proposed budget. Last year, we had 83 students take 119 AP exams, and 67.5 percent of these students achieved a 3 or better on the exams, which enabled them to receive a college credit for the course. SHS offers 11 AP courses, and 12 Honors courses currently, and we will be adding four more honors courses for our ninth-graders next year. Spaulding High School has initiated a strong literacy effort this year, and all content-area teachers are focusing on critical reading skills, active discussion, and effective writing skills necessary for both college and the workplace success. In addition, Spaulding’s Music and JROTC programs continue to grow and perform for the Barre community.
Earlier in the year, Gov. Shumlin asked Vermont schools to level fund their budgets to help keep our fiscal house in order. Our superintendent, school board, administration and faculty have worked hard to go beyond his directive by decreasing the SHS budget by 1.15 percent. We ask for your support of the SHS budget, so we may continue to offer our students a solid education.
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