Schools Budget Tops $60M In Fiscal ’20, Up 6.4 Percent

Photo: Belmont Schools budget has increased by 40 percent in the past five years.

With some tweaks here and there still to come, the Belmont School Committee was presented with the coming fiscal year’s district budget at its meeting on Tuesday, April 23.

And fiscal 2020 will see the final number breach the $60 million barrier as the total FY ’20 budget will increase 6.4 percent to top off at $60.6 million, according to District Superintendent John Phelan.

The figure is no surprise to the team creating this year’s “town-wide” budget, which projected earlier this year the schools would come in at $61 million. The total town ’20 budget is forecast to reach $129 million, nearly 12 percent over fiscal 2019, with capital (up 52 percent) and fixed costs (42 percent) skyrocketing.

In the past five years, the schools budget has jumped 40 percent from $43.6 million in fiscal ’15.

Phelan said the schools budget is made up of three parts. The roll-forward section which is made up of existing staff and contractual increases is by far the largest of the three. In fiscal ’20, it increases by 3.5 percent from $56.99 million to $58.98 million.

The segment for strategic plan costs, expenses to maintain Belmont’s strong educational core, came in at $880,500, a 1.6 percent increase. The money will be used to keep student fees stable and increase the number of teachers and staff by 3.6 positions:

  • increase guidance counselors by 1.4 positions so each elementary school will a full-time counselor,
  • add .4 percent of a position to add a middle school foreign language teacher, a high school teacher and an assistant principal at the high school, and
  • create a district-wide English Language Learner Program Director.

Finally, there are out of the district cost divers. One area is a town-wide health insurance increase of eight percent as well as jumps in Special Education tuitions, transportation and services, rising expenses by $786,000.

The schools budget will be presented to the annual Town Meeting for approval in June during the second session of the meeting.

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