AP NEWS

Leominster Budget Allows for 13 School Positions

May 9, 2019

LEOMINSTER -- When the School Committee adopted the School Department budget of nearly $79 million for fiscal 2020, it included adding 13 full-time teacher and paraprofessional positions that will be paid for in part by a significant reduction in annual pension payments now that the city’s retirement system is fully funded.

Over the last five years, the school district has averaged an allocation of $2.5 million annually for employee pensions, according to data provided to the committee by the school district’s business administrator, Glenn Fratto.

However, for fiscal 2020, that contribution will be decreased by less than $2 million to $631,815, according to the data.

That was the first significant drop in what are called “charge-backs” or what the city charges the school district to provide a variety of services, like administrative (for processing the district payroll, for example), providing school resources officers, clearing snow from school parking lots and sidewalks, other insurance, and payments to other school districts for students who opt out of attending Leominster schools.

In 2019, the total of the charge-backs for those services was $6.1 million versus $4.2 million projected for 2020.

That additional money will allow the creation of 13 positions which includes three new teachers, six tutors and four paraprofessional positions.

The new budget also maintains class sizes and freezes the current student fees for the next year.

Also, the English language learner program that has only been offered at Sky View, which meant English language learner students have had to taken there, will now be offered at all neighborhood schools with a re-allocation of 12 postions, at no cost to the district.

The budget also reflects a 1 percent increase for teachers according to the union’s contract with the district.

In the budget document, but not a budgeted item, was the purchase of approximately 480 laptop computers for the entire eighth grade class. That purchase is being paid for by a Digital Partnership Grant awarded to the city last year of nearly $437,000.

The proposed $78,924,482 budget adopted by the committee for 2020 is .07 percent above the state’s required net school spending.