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First Budget Workshop for the FY16 Budget with School Committee, Finance Committee and SPS Administration

Trish Hill, Principal of Oak Ridge School. presenting her vision and goals for 2015-2016 and how it is connected to the FY16 Budget. Pictured next to Ms. Hill is Marc Smith, principal at Forestdale

During the month of January, the School Committee is meeting every week. The first two weeks – January 7 and January 14, 2015 – are Budget Workshops. The purpose of the workshops is for the Superintendent and his Administrative Team to present their recommended budget to the School Committee.  This year, the Finance Committee* has been invited to attend the Budget Workshops and to ask questions throughout the presentation to support their understanding of the budget. 

In Sandwich, we are very lucky to have Sandwich Community Television broadcast and archive the video of many of our public Boards and Committees.  The meetings are long and complex, and a variety of important topics are discussed.  We are including both a link to the video and a guide to the first Budget Workshop meeting.  The guide is an outline of the topics discussed and indicates the specific place in the video when the discussion takes place.

Click here for the SCT Video of the January 7, 2015 Budget Workshop.  The Budget Workshops are not broadcast live because they are being held in the SHS Library; instead they are taped for rebroadcast.

  • Dr. Canfield opened the meeting with a welcome to the Finance Committee and explained to both the School Committee and the Finance Committee that the first part of the budget – the Salary pages – would be reviewed at this time.   Michelle Austin, Director of Finance, will “walk through” the budget line by line. At the January 14, 2015 Meeting, the Expense pages will be reviewed.

Note: January 21st will be a School Committee Business Meeting and will include the “Budget Hearing,” which is an opportunity for the public to comment on the budget. The School Committee will consider the Budget Workshop conversations and the Public Hearing and will vote in the Budget on January 28, 2015. At that time, the budget is no longer the “Superintendent’s Budget,” but is now the “School Committee’s Budget” to submit to the Board of Selectmen. 

  • @ 3:59 – Gene Parini, Chair of FinCom, thanked the group and noted the purpose of the meeting: for the Finance Committee to understand the budget so they could better fulfill their role, which is to recommend or not recommend passage of the SPS Budget at Town Meeting.
  • @ 8:58 – Introductions of the “Folks Around the Table.”
  • @ 11:00 – Dr. Canfield presented a short PowerPoint “Funding What We Value” about the 10 items that the Administrative Team identified as the specific values and goals of the district.  The presentation may be viewed and downloaded here: Budget_FY16
Marc Smith, Forestdale Principal

Marc Smith, Forestdale Principal

  • @ 24:07 – Forestdale Principal Marc Smith’s presentation about his goals for the Forestdale PreK-2 School. His remarks can be viewed and downloaded: SC Budget Presentation_1-7-15 Marc Smith
  • @ 36:00 – Oak Ridge Principal Trish Hill’s presentation about her goals for the Oak Ridge Gr 3-6 School.  Her remarks can be viewed and downloaded: SC Budget Presentation_1-7-15 Trish Hill
  • @ 45:20 – Introduction to the “Walk Through” of p1-8, the Summary and Salary pages of the FY16 Budget
Michelle Austin explained the Summary of the Budget and the Salaries at each site. Photo from the SCT video.

Michelle Austin explained the Summary of the Budget and the Salaries at each site. Photo from the SCT video.

  • @ 48:47 – Michelle Austin explained the Summary page and the Central Administration budget
    • Follow up conversations included:
      • Dr. Canfield noted that he and Michelle Austin have already done a first pass at reducing the budget requests from each site. $207, 433 has already been reduced from the Expense Budgets; this reduction is shown on the Summary page and will be shown in more detail on the individual site Expense pages.
      • Dr. Canfield and Michelle Austin also pointed out that further cuts will take place, that there is a commitment to get to the number requested by the Board of Selectmen.  For the Administration, one purpose of the Budget Workshops is to get guidance from the School Committee before going back to the table to make additional cuts.
  • @ 64:33 – Michelle Austin explained the Oak Ridge Salary Budget
    • Follow up conversations about staffing – where are the Wing teachers going?
  • @ 77:43 – Michelle Austin explained the Forestdale Salary Budget
    • Follow up conversations about:
      • Full-Day Kindergarten
      • School Choice – this topic became a thread throughout the remainder of the meeting
  • @ 97:00 Michelle Austin explained the STEM Academy Salary Budget
  • @ 107:00 Dr. Ellin Booras explained the SHS Salary Budget
  • @ 109:30 Matt Bridges explained the Special Education Budget
  • @ 116:00 Michelle Austin explained the Athletics Budget
  • @ 123:00 Michelle Austin explained the Custodial Budget
  • @ 138:00 Dr. Canfield distributed the estimates for the expenses for moving all of the Wing Classrooms and for renovations necessary at Oak Ridge and Forestdale to accommodate all of the district’s PreK-6 students. The estimates comprise the amount of Capital Expenses to be voted in at the February 9th Special Town Meeting in Article 1 and Article 2.

Sandwich Learns Together is publishing a series of articles to help the community understand the SPS School Budget and the role of Town Meeting in voting the budget.  Read “Five Terms to Understand During the “Budget Season” for an explanation of Capital and Operational Expenditures.

Look for articles to come:

  • Five Dates to Know During the Budget Season
  • Five Goals Supported by the Budget
  • Five More Goals Supported by the Budget
  • Five Things to Know about Special Town Meeting
  • Five Groups with a Role in our Town Meeting Form of Government
  • A United School District
  • A Step-by-Step Guide to Town Meeting


*About the Finance Committee (from the Town of Sandwich website:)

The Finance Committee’s primary statutory responsibility is to advise and make recommendations to town meeting on the budget and other financial matters. The Finance Committee is primarily responsible for reviewing the proposed budget submitted by the Town Administrator and forwarding it to the Board of Selectmen with its recommendations. The Finance Committee is also charged with submitting a written budget report to the Annual Town Meeting and a written report to the Annual Town Meeting and any Special Town Meeting with its advisory recommendations on all financial warrant articles, and the projected tax impact of the proposal. The Finance Committee is a nine (9) member committee appointed by the Moderator with each member serving a three-year term.