Schools want $1.3M more in city funds

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Superintendent Jeannine Nota-Masse is asking for an increase of $1,344,815, or approximately 1.4 percent, in next year’s school budget. 

“Each year moderate increases must be made. Some of them are contractual. 1.4 percent is a fair ask,” she said. 

The proposed operating budget for year 2018-2019 is $158,517,989. These numbers include an increase from state appropriation of $3,173,933 equal to approximately 5.5 percent.

Nota-Masse gave a brief opening statement at the school committee budget meeting last week, talking about the size of the Cranston school district, the number of students being served and the importance of buildings that can support the ever-changing needs of teachers and students.

“It is essential that we start transforming our students into 21st century learners and thinkers,” she said.

The major portion of funding for the budget comes from the state, and the process of the Fair Funding Formula. 

“The Fair Funding Formula is still in existence. The 2018-2019 projected State Aid increase ($3.1 million) is based on the fact that the ‘Core Value’ component of the Fair Funding Formula is going up by approximately $300 dollars/student, said Joe Balducci, Chief Financial Officer for Cranston Schools. 

“The Core Value amount next year scheduled to be $9,422/per student is an amount that every school district receives in State Aid. For comparison purposes, the 2017-2018 Core Value amount is $9,163/per student. Therefore, when you multiply the $300 increase by approximately 10,000-student population, the net result is an increase of $3.1 million.

In her presentation to the committee, Nota-Masse explained the budget process itself. Starting in late November the budgeters make financial assumptions very early that may not mirror the final numbers in July when the budget is put in place.

“Some of the financial predictions are made on current year revenue or expenditures,” she said. “Some staffing decisions must be made before course requests/teacher recommendations are made.”

And the biggest issue is that the proposed budget must be submitted to the City by March 1 she said. 

Nota-Masse is comfortable with the budget she presented. She expressed that it is very straightforward.

“The requests in this budget are reasonable to accommodate a district that is evolving and changing to meet the needs of its students. A 1.4 percent increase is a modest request from a city with a vibrant economy and a history of community dedication to its schools,” she said. 

To view the proposed budget go to cpsed.net/super/budget18-19/18-19.pdf.

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