JACKSON – School District staff and members of the Board of Education will be looking to present its budget before the public before its April 24 public hearing.
Superintendent Stephen Genco stated during a Jan. 16 board meeting that work has started and specific reports will be held during meetings of the next two months concerning the 2018-2019 school budget.
Genco showed a short PowerPoint presentation during the evening’s session which noted that the district will provide multiple opportunities for the public to provide input and ask questions about the budget both before the tentative budget is created and before the public hearing.
The budget calendar established by the state means the budget timeline culminates with the April 24 public hearing.
“It is January and that is when we begin to focus on the budget,” Genco said. “This is the timeline that we are at in the budget process. Typically, it takes a five to six weeks to play with the budget to get it where we want,” the superintendent said.
Genco added that during the board’s Feb. 13 meeting multiple presentations will be made. Those presentations include reports on various district departments including curriculum, special education, technology, guidance, co-curricular, athletics, facilities/capital projects and transportation.
The superintendent reminded board members that normally such presentations are not “lumped together” during one night’s meeting but said this might benefit the board in assembling information in a quicker manner this year.
The district’s Feb. 20 meeting, which will take place 6:30 p.m. at the Jackson Memorial High School might allow for the administration to discuss the tentative state aid figures that might be released by that time.
“We do have a new governor who was sworn in today so this might change but we might know what the state aid figures are at that time,” Genco said at the time.
He said the administration plans to introduce a tentative budget during the board’s March 13 meeting. “The public can e-mail us their questions and we’ll be putting out various media releases about the budget.”
Various “Fast Facts” will be provided to the media and the public, he said. They would include data about the budget such as any changes in the school district tax rate. The April 24 budget hearing will be held at the Jackson Memorial High School auditorium.
In other board business, Genco told board members that the state’s performance reports were released earlier in the month.
“We are currently reviewing a tremendous amount of data. I’m happy to say that in reading a summary of the reports we’ve hit most of our targets,” Genco said.
Student attendance figures were one area in need of improvement, according to Genco. Elementary school math and language arts, however, were areas where the district did well.
Genco added that he’d be going over the performance reports in full detail and “we’ll be putting some bullet points together on the good things that we saw and what we can to do better in the other areas.”
During the session, Board President Scott Sargent asked his fellow members if they were interested in remaining on in their current sub-committee assignments or if they wanted to change some of their assignments.
Board members each review various district departments and committees that concern subjects such as fiscal planning, curriculum facilities and other topics.