MERSD FY25 Budget: Could There be More Opportunities?


To the Editor, At their February 6th meeting, the Manchester Essex Regional School Committee voted 4 to 3 on the Fiscal Year 2025 budget: a 2.99% increase from the prior year.
Superintendent Pam Beaudoin recommended a 2.77% spending increase that accounts for all contractual obligations, and fulfills (Tier 1) staffing and capital needs but requires an additional $66,000 in reallocations for additional (Tier 2) staffing requests.  She warned: a budget above her recommendation will likely result in cuts next year.
Most MERSD School Committee members are not educators and look to the administration for
recommendations.  This time, however, the majority voted for a higher budget—creating a larger funding cliff in the next budget cycle.
Further, the School Committee discussed administrators’ suggestions for a potential schedule change at the Middle and High Schools whereby sharing staff would increase academic rigor, increase students’ time on learning, and allow the return of world language in sixth grade—all while saving $65,000 per year.  The Committee, again, dismissed all recommendations and opposed any effort to align the schedules for now.
A more responsible alternative: use the $65,000 saved from the schedule change to (mostly) fund the Tier 2 staffing requests.  The district could use reserves (which never seem to go down) for this request until the new schedule is implemented.  Thereafter, the district would see savings from the change.
This is just one example of striving toward academic excellence while being fiscally responsible.
What other opportunities is the School Committee missing?

Antonella Muniz, Essex