The North Kingstown School Committee held the first of two parts of a Budget Workshop for the 2023-2024 School Year on Thursday, March 2 at 7pm at the Central Administration Building. The agenda packet for this meeting can be found here: http://northkingstownschoolri.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx along with the PowerPoint slides put together by the Interim Superintendent, Dr. Palotta.
Their first order of business was to approve salary increases for several administrative assistant positions in the Central Office, which passed unanimously. This was a carryover from previous school committee meetings, and the committee also voted to make these increases retroactive to January 2023.
The remainder of the meeting was to workshop the budget as a whole, including a deep dive into several requests by both the Administration and the School Committee to add additional positions to the existing operational budget. Dr. Palotta reviewed the current budget considerations, including the already determined increases to union contracts, increases to fixed costs like substitutes, utilities, transportation, pension and custodial services, as well as current enrollment and the additional positions being requested.
The bulk of the meeting time was used to review the unbudgeted requests. Several administrators spoke about the needs in their buildings, especially for an increase to the School Psychologists or additional support staff for Special Education meetings and decisions. There was also conversation stemming from the recently completed Equity Audit and the difference between hiring a full-time Director versus creating stipends for staff in each building to take on the additional work. Included in these conversations was also where the funding could come from to support these additional positions. There was much conversation about late bussing from the middle and high schools and the need for it versus the past usage, and a long discussion about the substitute teacher funds and the current salaries of budgeted staff and where savings might be found in the budget. And finally there was conversation about renovations to the softball field at the high school.
It was a great, interesting and long meeting, but one that was much needed. In the end, another meeting was scheduled for Part Two with requests for additional information for the Committee to consider, which will be held on March 7 at 6pm and the agenda can be found here: http://northkingstownschoolri.iqm2.com/Citizens/Default.aspx Stay tuned for more!