Looking ahead to FY2014, Superintendent of Schools Charles Gobron and his team strive to maintain the high standards of the Northborough public schools while adhering to the ever mounting fiscal constraints.
"We've been fortunate that determining the needs has been quite inclusive," Gobron said. "The initiatives will be long range."
Gobron told the Northborough-Southborough School Committee that he will begin examining more closely the 2014 budget in January, and offered a presentation on the goals. These goals include maintaining a high quality staff, keeping within acceptable student/teacher ratios, meeting the needs of all learners, maintaining the district's capital assets with an emphasis on energy efficiencies, ensuring that the education program is consisten with the state's curriculum framework, meeting state benchmarks for educational technology and ensuring staff and administration receive adequate training to implent the new Educator Evaluation Regulations.
Despite fiscal challenges and mandates, Gobron said some of the costs could be offset by a shifting population and still meet the needs of the current student population.
Keeping the class size low has long been a priority for the school committee, and Gobron said "we do a pretty good job of staying within that."
Gobron said that the budget would address the demands of ELL students, increasing the hours of instruction.
Discussions, too, are underway to address the increasing needs of "non-instructional support," and finding creative ways to address the need for part-time administrative help.
The budget will also address the ability to stabalize accounts for instructional materials, technology and supplies.
To meet the complex needs of today's students, and also state and federal mandates, constructing a working, balanced, budget has increasingly become more of a challenge for schools. Gobron stressed that getting a start on the discussions early, and continuing to focus on the priorities is crucial.
"We have used other funds to get what we needed in the past," said Gobron, "but those won't be available to us anymore. A loss in alternate funding will show an increase in the line items for technology as well as instructional materials. Because of fiscal constraints, it is necessary to continue prioritizing."