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Holliston School Committee News

by Lisa Kocain
February 11, 2017

School Committee Newsletter  Issue #6 -- February 3, 2017

Special Edition: Budget Update

Last night, February 2, 2017, Dr. Bradford Jackson, superintendent of schools, presented his recommended budget for the FY18 school year to the Holliston School Committee. Dr. Jackson is recommending an incremental 4%, or $1,285,000, to both 1) maintain level services and 2) reinstate some essential programs and staff to address growing concerns around class sizes, more affordable access to Kindergarten, enhanced social and emotional learning, and technology implementation challenges. Specifically, Dr. Jackson is requesting additional funds to address the following (although this list is not prioritized or comprehensive):

  • Implementing a sliding fee scale for full-day Kindergarten tuition

  • Restoring a single full-time psychologist to augment services in all schools

  • Restoring the position of a district-wide Director of Technology and Digital Learning and adding a district-wide Technology Integration Specialist

  • Restoring a full-time wellness professional and ½ time chorus/general music professional at the Robert Adams Middle School

  • Restoring a small portion of funds for supplies at each building as well as investing in needed centralized curriculum resources

In addition, Dr. Jackson is recommending that a few items requested by the administration be funded through the May 2017 capital request at Town Meeting. They include:

  • Purchasing Chromebooks for the incoming 9th grade class at the high school

  • Groundskeeping equipment

  • Replacement of the data system/student management system for managing and reporting on student growth and teacher evaluations (note: the current system does not conform to requirements for the Department of Education)

While these initiatives come with a meaningful price tag, they represent only 35% of the $1,936,462 requested by our administrators, and many are designed to address cutbacks that have had a significant impact over the last several years.

Dr. Jackson’s presentation is an important but early step in the district’s budget development process. The Budget Sub-Committee will take Dr. Jackson’s recommendation under advisement and return to the School Committee at large on February 16 with feedback.

Importantly, Dr. Jackson’s recommendation is developed with an eye toward ensuring that Holliston continues to deliver an outstanding level of education for all of its students as defined in the five-year Strategic Plan approved by the School Committee in 2016.

What Goes Into Developing the Superintendent’s Budget?

Dr. Jackson builds his proposed budget by:

  • Examining what it will take to maintain level services;

  • Evaluating improvements and restorations deemed necessary by our district-wide administrators to achieve the quality of education and strategic goals established by the district;

    • A summary of the proposed FY18 Strategic Improvement Initiatives was presented on Jan. 20 and can be found here.

  • Considering the 1% budget increase guideline provided by the Holliston Finance Committee. Each town department has been advised by the Finance Committee that it will not recommend funds for appropriation in FY18 above a 1% increase to any department’s existing budget.


Important Facts and Key Assumptions

  • The district’s current (FY17) operating budget is $31,883,737.

  • To maintain our current level of service, the district would require an additional $605,726 or 1.9% in funding, based on estimated fixed costs of $32,489,463.

  • Circuit breaker (special education) funding and other state and federal grants will remain level for FY18.


Next Steps


FY18 Budget* Development Calendar



Thursday, November 10, 2016

Budget Driver Review - Part I - Salaries

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Budget Driver Review - Part II - All Others (except Special Ed)

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Budget Driver Review - Part III - Special Education

Thursday, January 19, 2017

School-Wide Improvement and Learning Goals Mid-Year Update

Friday, January 20, 2017

Budget Workshop -- Strategic Improvement Initiatives Presentations (4:00 pm)

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Superintendent's Recommended FY18 Budget

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Budget Subcommittee Report and Full Committee Discussion

Thursday, March 02, 2017

School Committee Votes FY18 Budget - Preliminary

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Finance Committee Presentation (7:05pm)

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Budget Discussion (if needed)

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Public Hearing on FY18 Budget

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Budget Discussion (if needed)

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Budget Discussion (if needed)

Monday, May 08, 2017

Annual Town Meeting

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Annual Town Election


*Fiscal year 2018 runs from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018.


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