Budget Proposal To Cut Staffers
Facing a $3.7 million deficit in Fiscal Year 2011, the Cambridge Public School Committee is planning to cut administrative staffers, according to the Cambridge Public School System’s proposed budget.
The School Committee voted unanimously to refer the budget for the next fiscal year to the City Council at yesterday’s meeting.
“This budget was crafted in a time of fiscal constraint,” said Cambridge Public Schools Superintendent Jeffrey M. Young.
The budget proposal calls for an appending level—the amount the city manager allocates for the public schools—of $137.5 million, which represents an increase of $3.7 million over Fiscal Year 2010. Salaries comprise around 77.5 percent, or about $107 million, of the sum.
The major forces driving budgetary increases each year are personnel costs—including salary and benefits increases—the cost of out-of-district tuitions, and the cost of transportation.
In an attempt to continue to strengthen Cambridge’s education system while also accounting for the fiscal constraint, the budget recommends reorganizing the central administration, including eliminating some administrative support jobs, such as the technical assistant specialist and the coordinator of cooperative education.
The school system also plans to cut a handful of teaching aides working in grades 1-8.
“It is my hope that as we look forward, that these dark days don’t last,” said Young.
Administrative reorganization, which will save the school system about $1.2 million, is the main way the budget recommends to reducing costs. The district plans to perform a comprehensive review of the organizational structure of administrative and operational departments.
“We are looking at ways, while the number of people in the Central Administration is lowered, we can create positions with higher skill levels,” said Claire B. Spinner, chief financial officer of the Cambridge Public Schools.
Young said he hopes the administrative cutback will shed light on why Cambridge spends more per pupil than the average Mass. school system.
Aside from personnel, the school system will also be making other cutbacks, such as reducing the number of ads it places in The Boston Globe, cutting back the material and professional development budgets, and eliminating the Jump Start Program. Each school will also experience a reduction in its building-based accounts and general materials budget.
Despite the major cutbacks, the school system plans to increase the funds dedicated to student achievement, special education, and middle grades, among others.
This budget will be discussed in a City Council budget hearing on May 19.
—Staff writer Rediet T. Abebe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.