Sherman school board eyes another flat budget

Photo of Kendra Baker
The Sherman School

The Sherman School

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SHERMAN — For the fifth consecutive year, the education board is considering a flat budget for the upcoming school year.

The Board of Education, which held its third budget workshop Wednesday evening, is looking at a $9.38 million school budget for 2021-22, which would reflect a $425 year-over-year decrease.

Of the total budget, roughly 60 percent would go toward salaries, while high school tuition would account for about 19 percent and special education for about 9 percent.

“It is notable that we have maintained a zero percent [increase] despite approximately $730,000 in rising contracted costs,” Superintendent-Principal Jeff Melendez said.

Not only that, but the single-school district has “greatly increased programs over the course of the past five years,” he said.

Universal preschool, a full time K-5 STEAM teaching program and lab, and the addition of an exploration and enrichment period are just some of the enhancements made at the Sherman School over recent years.

Melendez said the proposal “maintains a zero percent [increase], while also maintaining all of the staffing that we need to ensure we can remain fully open next year in anticipation of COVID-19.”

“In the event that staff are not needed to ensure small class instruction, these staff members will be able to provide additional academic support, intervention and enrichment,” he said.

The district is expecting about $370,000 in grant money next school year and is projected to have a student enrollment of 245 — 12 of which are anticipated to be children of school district employees.

Based on the grade levels of those 12 students, school officials do not expect there to be any class size or financial burdens by allowing faculty members’ children to continue attending the Sherman School next year.

Next steps

After presenting its budget to the Board of Selectmen on Saturday, the school board will vote to adopt a 2021-22 budget during its regularly scheduled meeting on March 3.

The school board has a budget workshop tentatively scheduled for Monday, which Board of Education Chair Kaesy Diotte said will only take place if board members feel they “need to make any changes based on the feedback received from the Board of Selectmen.”

A town budget referendum vote is slated for May 1.