Budget FY 2015

Nashua School District

FY 2015 Budget Development Process

On Wednesday, April 9, 2014, immediately following the second of two public hearings, the Nashua Board of Education approved additional amendments to the budget, primarily restoring two high school guidance counselor positions and offsetting the costs of those two positions by reducing two of the four proposed elementary school teaching positions. 

That same evening, the Board of Education approved to increase the District's total operating budget for fiscal year 2015 by 3.37 percent, to $100,748,192.

To review a summary of all the Board of Education-approved amendments to Superintendent Mark Conrad's proposed 2014-2015 operating budget, please click here.  

The Nashua Board of Aldermen (BOA) sets the bottom line of the budget.  Next steps in the budget process will include a review by Mayor Lozeau and by the Board of Aldermen.  The BOA will not likely finish its review of the Board of Education approved budget until June.

For the District, the budget review process began late last fall with the work of the District-wide Budget Advisory Committee.  Superintendent Conrad worked with the Committee to develop his proposed budget, which he presented to the Board of Education in late January.  Since then, the Board's Budget Committee has been reviewing the budget with Mr. Conrad, Daniel Donovan, Chief Operating Officer, and Jennifer Seusing and Karen Crebase, Assistant Superintendents.  In addition, the Board of Education held two public hearings, providing two opportunities for Nashua residents and staff members to voice their views on budget priorities.

Budget Notebook for Board of Education Members:  Pertinent Information Related to Budget

Budget Questions may be submitted to:  schoolbudgetquestions@Nashua.edu.

Budget Brief:  January 31, 2014
On Wednesday, January 29, 2014, Superintendent Mark Conrad presented his proposed operating budget for the upcoming 2014-2015 school year to the Nashua Board of Education.
Over the past two years proposed increases in the school budget have been very modest – 1.1% and 2.0% in fiscal years 2013 and 2014, respectively.  These budgets have returned financial stability to the District and restored some reductions from prior years, even with minimal increases in cost thanks to a combination of good outcomes in controlling costs (such as locking in low natural gas prices) and the sacrifices of the District’s employees in accepting minimum pay increases even as they took on a greater share of health insurance costs.
 
The proposed fiscal year 2015 budget is increasing by just over $5 million to $102,554,117, a 5.2% increase over this year and a much higher increase in comparison to previous years.  This reflects a changing set of circumstances, as less than one percent of this increase supports new resources for the District.  A number of non-negotiable factors have come together that are significantly impacting the budget bottom line, even though these increases are simply the cost of doing business to maintain existing levels of staffing and services for students.  Some of the more significant increases include the following:
 
  • A $3.3 million increase in salaries, primarily reflecting salary increases included in collective bargaining agreements approved for the coming year.
  • An increase of just over $1 million in transportation costs, based on the results of a recent bidding process for transportation services.  The District is pursuing a number of alternatives to reduce the size of this increase, but we can expect to pay significantly more for transportation in the coming year.
  • An increase in budgeted severance costs from $600,000 to $800,000. While the District will have a firm cost for severance after February 1st, the District may want to maintain a higher budget to set aside funds against an anticipated increase in severance costs in FY 2016.
  • Increases totaling $275,557 in special education costs for out-of-district placements and occupational/physical therapy.  While the District’s special education staff work hard to prevent the need for out-of-district placements, the requirement to provide these services are mandated by federal and state statutes.
  • An increase of $125,750 in natural gas costs, based on changing market prices.
  •  An additional elementary unified arts teacher to better enable the District to meet new contract requirements increasing weekly planning time for kindergarten teachers from 50 minutes/week to 100 minutes/week.

 Less than 1% of the proposed budget includes a number of new, critical resources that allow us to keep up with the needs of our students and our goals for student outcomes.  These new resources include the following:
 
  • Four new elementary teaching positions to further the District’s efforts to reduce class size.  While assignments of these positions to specific grades and schools will not be made until this summer, these additional positions should minimize or may even eliminate class sizes of over 25 students.
  • Two new classrooms in special education, including a teacher of the deaf and sign language interpreter to establish a program for hard-of-hearing students aging up to the middle level, and a new intensive needs classroom for students transitioning from preschool to kindergarten.  The number of students diagnosed with autism or development delays continues to increase every year, creating the need to establish additional intensive needs programs over time.
  • A new career counselor/ELO Coordinator to support the development of career exploration opportunities for middle and high school students, and the growth in the number of students earning credit through extended learning opportunities.
  • A part-time ELL (English Language Learner) teacher at the high school level to better support students who no longer require active services through ELL programs, but still require some level of additional support to remain proficient in English.
  • A high school social worker who will work with freshmen at both high schools, with a long-term goal, as future budgets permit, of employing a social worker at each of the five secondary schools.
  • Expanding current positions for a math coach and instructional data analyst from part time to full time to better support teachers in utilizing data to inform instruction, to improve math instruction, and to improve the District’s ability to evaluate program outcomes.
  • An increase of $150,000 in the allowance for computer hardware, to $600,000.  The District has been working overtime to increase this allowance to replace outdated computers, and in the coming year this allowance will also include the addition of portable laptop carts at most elementary schools.

During the three year period from fiscal year 2010 through fiscal year 2012 the District lost eight-three (83) positions, a result of budget constraints and unanticipated cost overruns that required difficult decisions, such as eliminating the Phoenix Program (an alternative middle/high school) and the REACH program (for gifted and advanced learners).  While some positions have been restored with the budget stability of the last two years, our staff have never worked harder and the District today is still running with fewer staff beyond any reductions we have been able to absorb with declines in enrollment. 
 
We recognize the 5.2% budget increase contained in the superintendent’s proposed budget may not be sustainable, particularly when the City has in place a 2.1% spending cap for the coming year.   However, any decisions to reduce positions, eliminate programs or cut services will be difficult decisions with some level of detrimental impact for our students, and require a full and transparent public conversation.  Ultimately the Board of Education is responsible for determining how the District expends available funds, while the Mayor and the Board of Aldermen are responsible for setting the bottom line.
 
We are fortunate in having a Board that is student-centered and will approach their budget deliberations in a thoughtful manner.  We are also fortunate to have a Board that is able to work constructively with both the Mayor and the Board of Aldermen. 
 
Information about the fiscal year 2015 school budget proposed by the Superintendent and the Board’s deliberations can be found on the District’s website.   
 
2014 BOE Budget Meeting Master Schedule
Day Date Time Location Meeting Agenda
Wednesday Jan 29 7:00 pm School Adm. Bldg. Budget Committee Budget overview
Saturday Feb 1 9:00 am North Boardroom Budget Workshop 3-year budget, Special Education & class sizes
Wednesday Feb 5 7:00 pm North Boardroom Budget Workshop Canceled DUE TO WEATHER
Wednesday Feb 12 7:00 pm North Boardroom Budget Workshop Curriculum/ Technology
Wednesday Feb 19 Following BOE meeting North Boardroom Budget Workshop DATE/AGENDA REVISED DUE TO WEATHER
Curriculum (cont.)
School Allocations
Wednesday Mar 5 7:00 pm North Auditorium Public Budget Hearing Public Input
Wednesday Mar 12 7:00 pm North Boardroom Budget Workshop Plant Operations/utilities; Guidance/career pathways
Wednesday Mar 19 7:00 pm North Boardroom Budget Review & Revision Transportation
ELL/MS Saturday School
Recommended budget
Saturday Mar 22 9:00 am North Boardroom Budget Review & Revision Recommended Budget
Tuesday Mar 25 7:00 pm North Boardroom Budget Review & Revision Recommended Budget
Wednesday Apr 2 7:00 pm North Boardroom Budget Review & Revision Recommended Budget
Thursday Apr 3 7:00 pm North Boardroom Budget Review & Revision Recommended Budget
Wednesday Apr 9 7:00 pm North Boardroom Public Budget Hearing immediately followed by
Budget Committee Meeting:
Final Budget Approval
Public Input Recommended Budget
Wednesday May 7 7:00 pm North Boardroom Budget Review Special Revenue
Revenue Projections
Wednesday May 14 7:00 pm North Boardroom Budget Review Special Revenue
Revenue Projections