School officials begin FY2011 budget review
For the members of the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) District committee who also serve on the budget subcommittee, it was a double-header on Monday evening.
The subcommittee met an hour before the regular meeting to begin work on the high school's fiscal year 2011 (FY11) budget, pegged in a first draft at $13.1 million. Then, joined by their committee colleagues, the subcommittee members tackled a full agenda Monday, in the school's library conference room.
Representatives from Tisbury, Edgartown, and Oak Bluffs finance committees attended the subcommittee pre-meeting meeting. RHS committee member Les Baynes of Edgartown was elected chairman of the subcommittee.
The first draft of the FY11 budget shows a total operating budget of $13.1 million, a 5.67-percent increase over $12.4 million in FY10.
MVRHS principal Steve Nixon went through a first draft of the FY11 budget line by line. Although included in the draft budget at FY10 levels, Mr. Nixon said the high school's share of the superintendent's budget, due out this week, and teacher contract figures that are under negotiation this year may be subject to change.
The first draft of the budget did not include salary adjustments for lane changes and step increases for teachers, which will be added to the next draft, Mr. Nixon said.
The next budget subcommittee meeting is scheduled at MVRHS on October 19, 8 am.
Kicking off the full school committee meeting at 7 pm, a student report by junior class president Ana Thibodeau and vice president Larissa Cacique included updates on recent sporting and school events. More students than ever signed up for the school's many clubs at a meeting last week, they said.
The two class officers also reported that students are objecting to a strict hall monitoring policy and that the issue will be addressed in an upcoming Student Council meeting.
Reports from guidance director Michael McCarthy included SAT test scores for the class of 2009, an analysis of their post-secondary plans, and results of a senior exit survey they took.
In his SAT report for the class of 2009, Mr. McCarthy said that last year's senior class outperformed all other classes since 1996, when SAT scores were rescaled.
A total of 80 percent of the class of 2009 graduates, 160 of 199 students, took the SAT test. The MVRHS students' mean scores in the test categories of critical reading, math, and writing surpassed New England, national, and state mean scores for all students who took the test.
A profile about MVRHS is sent out to colleges, schools, and employers with a student's transcript. Post-secondary plans for the class of 2009 included in the profile indicate out of 200 students in the class of 2009, 129 planned to attend a four-year college, and 24 were headed to a two-year college, technical school, or prep school. Of the remainder, 27 planned to work after graduation, 5 to enter military service, and 15 to travel or do volunteer work.
One-hundred sixty-seven students in the class of 2009 also completed a senior exit survey by the American College Testing program, Mr. McCarthy said. The survey asks students to rank characteristics of the high school in terms of satisfaction in categories such as instruction, activities, guidance and counseling, facilities, and general characteristics.
Mr. McCarthy said the results of the survey indicated students were satisfied for the most part with the same characteristics of the school that administrators and faculty also feel are important. The survey results also offer an analysis by subsets - for example, gender, grade point average, students with jobs - that will be helpful in gauging the school's effectiveness, Mr. McCarthy said.
Turning to school finances, finance manager Mark Friedman said there currently are no variances in budget expenses of any note. On the revenue side, in anticipation of cuts in school funding due to state revenue losses, Mr. Friedman said the high school has a number of initiatives in place to absorb the shortfalls this school year.
Last spring school administrators noticed a deficit in the budget line item for electric usage, Mr. Friedman said. Although high energy rates were partly to blame, Mr. Friedman contacted Cape Light Compact (CLC) to do an energy audit of the school building.
The audit by Rise Engineering identified the school's heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system as being inefficient and advised the school to get new air circulation pumps for the system, which may be available free through CLC. Mr. Friedman said the high school would move forward with an application to CLC.
In keeping with a tradition Mr. Nixon started last year, a different school department makes a presentation about its programs and activities at each school committee meeting. The school's science department took the spotlight at Monday's meeting. After brief overviews by department head Natalie Munn and teachers Elliott Bennett and Dana Munn, several students gave short presentations about their winning projects from last year's science fair.
In other business, the school committee accepted letters of retirement from history teacher Quinton Bannister and health and P.E. teacher Anne Lemenager, effective in 2010.