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ACS Board of Education Meeting and Budget Workshop

Updated: Apr 1, 2022

The Monday evening Board of Education meeting was called to order promptly at 6pm with all board members in attendance. The dais featured a swanky new purple-and-white look with the school's name and panther mascot. This new addition was sure to 'Wow!' for the first widespread online streaming of the Board of Education meeting. I hear a few people tuned in. Very high tech. Super fancy. If you missed watching, you can see the whole thing here.

video streaming set up
Check out that noice set up

Dr. Schuelein jumped right in with his Superintendent's Report. He had compliments for the Drama Club's recent performance as well as the Shamrock Dance. He also noted that the beginning of the spring sports began on March 14th, so that would explain the uptick in baseball and softball talk around town. He made comments on the upcoming code of conduct review committee situation which sounds super fun. He ended his report on a low note as a systemic issue has been discovered with the roof on the school that is not good. Sounds like a large part of the school roof will need repair or replacement. Following his Superintendent's Report Dr. Schuelein turned down the lights for a more intimate ambiance for the 2022-2023 ACS Budget Workshop Presentation. He really hyped up the budget proposal by stating, "What we lack in excitement, we make up for in data and statistics!" Which is silly since data and statistics ARE exciting. There honestly could have been more data and statistics. There were only a handful of pie and bar graphs. He really could have had a few more graphs.

Turns out the 2022-2023 budget is going to be 9.924 MILLION DOLLARS. That sounds like a lot of money, until you realize how much things cost. The largest percentage of funds will go towards school programs which include teachers, curriculum, supplies, etc. After that you have administrative costs and capital projects, which include things like building maintenance and the new roof the school is needing. However, it sounds like they plan to pay for that new roof via the capital project reserve to the tune of $800k-ish (If rather than through the regular revenue or grants. I'm sure they looked into state funding for that too. I'd assume. It's going to be on the ballot as a voter proposition and you can ask the Board of Education all about it at the public hearing on April 9th.

There was a lot of fun info in the budget like a proposal to move the 6th-grade class upstairs to create more of a middle school environment. They're also going to be adding scuba diving instruction, paid for via grant, which will allow students to be trained and certified. Sounds cool. Apparently, there is a lot of math and science involved in scuba diving, and it could also be considered vocational training. Most of the rest of the budget line items were super boring, but you can check it out online if you're just really into that kind of thing.

The budget does rely on a 2.9% tax levy increase as well as a 3% increase in state funding, so hopefully that all works out. Dr. Schuelein explained that the tax levy increase will amount to approximately $2.41 per month for the average property value in town ($60,000-ish). For the low, low price of an additional 8 cents per day you can continue educating kids right here in your own community. How cool right?

Each board member had a couple of clarifying questions about the budget. Michele wanted to know, if the pool roof was just being held up with hopes and dreams should we really be using the pool area. Turns out it's been deemed safe, just in need of repair very soon. She also wanted to know why they were using capital project reserve funds to pay for the courtyard upgrades which was answered, but I was confused. It sounds like the courtyard project is over budget and some additional drainage stuff was needed and since they were draining the reserve for the roof situation why not take the rest and use it up on the courtyard...I think? I'm not sure. Pat wanted to know if moving the 6th-grade class would mean students rotating classes like the high school classes and if that would be eliminating the 6th grade teacher position. The answer is 'yes' on the rotating classes and a 'maybe' on the second part. The 6th-grade position is still presently budgeted for. Kevin had questions about how the scuba diving class was going to be funded. The answer to that is: by grant.

All in all, the budget workshop was riveting. Following that they sped through the rest of the agenda. There were many 'whereas'-es and 'resolved'-s. They approved a new substitute art teacher, approved some tutors and coaches, and appointed a couple people as Title IX coordinators. Everything was approved without discussion. The meeting wrapped up at 6:45, and the board moved to executive session to discuss a private personnel issue.

The Board of Education meeting was a 9/10. I feel like there could have been more data in the budget proposal. I was promised data and statistics in lieu of excitement, but there was a tad too much excitement and only an adequate amount of data and statistics rather than an abundance. There was a lot of ground covered and a lot of details given. Overall, it was an excellent meeting. © AndoverExclusive 2022

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