Wareham school budget update shows $71,000 shortfall

Subcommittee expected to make more cuts
Feb 28, 2019

Wareham Schools Business Manager Susan Owen presented School Committee members with a budget shortfall of $71,000 for fiscal year 2020 on Thursday night, stating that more cuts would need to be made by officials in the coming weeks to stay on target with their proposed budget.

School Committee members unanimously approved a draft budget of $29 million in December of 2018, marking a roughly 1.5 percent increase from the current fiscal year’s budget.

Members of a budget subcommittee have met since then to reduce and prioritize line items according to Owen. 

The finalization of the school system’s budget traditionally takes place over the course of several months with members of the School Committee and town officials working together toward a consensus. Ultimately, the school budget must be approved by voters at Spring Town Meeting.

“There’s still work to be done and conversations to have,” Owen said.

Base on feedback from teachers, Owen said the subcommittee eliminated several requested positions to place 8.5 full-time paraprofessionals into the 2020 budget for Wareham’s kindergarten.

These cuts included the removal of two foreign language teachers, a guidance director and a dean for special education at Minot Forest. The cuts also mean that Wareham’s athletic director, Edward Rodrigues, will remain part-time.

To make up for the remaining $71,000 shortfall, Owen said spending on materials and supplies for Wareham schools would likely be cut. 

“It’s possible that we may see some teachers retire in the next few months as well,” Owen said. “So there are a lot of possibilities for making up the difference.”