Budget Season Continues: HS, MS and Athletics Updates, New Trash Limit, School Committee Session Tonight

The Hopkinton town and school budget season continues. We have updates from the January 12 Board of Selectmen meeting, as well as updates from the January 7 School Committee meeting regarding the high school, middle school and school athletics department budgets. The School Committee has meetings on January 14, 21, and 28 to discuss the other departmental budgets.

Notes from the January 12 Board of Selectmen Meeting

  • The Board of Selectmen voted to implement a two barrel trash limit per household effective March 1, 2010. This is a decrease from the current four barrel limit and is expected to save the town money.
  • The Board voted to lift the hiring freeze with respect to replacing the Facilities Director and rename the position to Town Engineer/Facilities Coordinator.
  • The Board voted to lift the hiring freeze to replace a police dispatcher due to a resignation.
  • The state has certified Free Cash in the following amounts:  $595,592 (General Fund), $500,648 (sewer Enterprise Fund), $643,557 (Water Enterprise).
  • The Town Meeting Warrant will open on Friday Jan 15th & close on Thursday March 4th at 4:30 pm.
  • Annual Town meeting will begin Monday, May 3 2010.
  • Richard Flannery will start as new Hopkinton Police Chief on February 19 at 4 pm, pending contract negotiations.
  • Town Manager relayed the opinion from Town Counsel that it appears there are no impediments to the Library Trustees’ transfer of the library to the town. The Trustees & the Town must work out details before the transfer can occur.  In addition, with the goal of exploring an expanded library & filing a grant application with the state, the town manager expects to recommend that the BOS appoint a building committee.  Town Manager will make recommendations regarding a building committee at the next BOS meeting.

Notes from the January 7 School Committee Working Session
The High School, Middle School and Athletics Departments all presented two budget scenarios. One called the “Superintendent’s Budget” and one called the (2.65%) Budget.
High School Budget:

  • In the “Superintendent’s Budget”, High School Principal Alyson Geary has requested 1 new teacher to address increased enrollment next year of 20 students. She also requested a regular education instructional aide to staff the high school tutoring center, which is currently used by 37 students. She also requested a halftime library assistant to restore the position eliminated in last year’s budget. The library is used after school by approximately 100 kids and they would like for it to be able to stay open later.
  • In Ms Geary’s (2.65%) budget version the high school would go without the new teacher. They would also lose one science teacher and one guidance counselor. They would also deduct $10,000 from the budget for extracurricular clubs and activities.

Middle School Budget:

  • In the “Superintendent’s Budget”, Middle School Principal Dr. William Lynch has requested $3000 for extracurricular clubs and activities. A decrease in Grade 6 enrollment is projected, so in this budget the Middle School will reduce staff by one grade 6 teacher and one related arts teacher. 
  • In Dr. Lynch’s (2.65%) budget the Middle School will reduce staff by two grade 6 and two related arts teachers, which leads to a projected increases in class size to 25 in grade 6 and an average related arts class size of 25. In this budget the Middle School will cut $4000 for extracurricular classes, thereby reducing the number of clubs and activities available to students.

Athletics Budget:

  • In the “Superintendent’s Budget”, Athletic Director Eric Karjel will eliminate four freshman teams: boys soccer, girls soccer, baseball and softball.
  • In Mr Karjel’s (2.65%) budget the Athletics department will also cut the middle school wrestling team in addition to the four freshman teams lost in the Superintendent’s Budget, and institute a $300 surcharge for hockey.
  • To keep all teams, the Athletics Department needs approximately $35,000 more. Fees could be raised $25 per team to cover this amount. Hopkinton High School charges families a $125 fee per sport per student. Average sports fees in other towns are about $174 per sport.

Upcoming School Committee Budget Working Sessions:

  • TONIGHT: Thurs Jan 14 at 7:30pm – Working Session to discuss Special Education, Buildings and Grounds, Central Office, and Technology Budgets.
  • Thurs Jan 21 at 7:30pm – Regular Meeting and Working Session to discuss Elementary School Budgets.
  • Thurs Jan 28 at 7:00pm – Public Hearing on the 2010-11 Budget and Working Session

Please note the public hearing and budget “working session” portions of all the meetings above are NOT televised, but are open to the public. The meetings are held in the Middle School Library.
Massachusetts Special Senate Election
Friday, January 15: Last day to vote by absentee ballot, see the Massachusetts Elections Divisions website for more informationhttp://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/ or contact the Hopkinton Town Clerk at 508-497-9710 or annc@hopkinton.org.
Tuesday, January 19: Special State Election  – Polls are open 7:00am – 8:00pm. All Hopkinton precincts vote at Hopkinton Middle School, 88 Hayden Rowe St, Hopkinton MA 01748.