Gap Narrows on Falmouth School Budget

The $1.6 million budgetary gap between what the Falmouth Public Schools is seeking for the next fiscal year and what town manager Julian M. Suso has proposed is shrinking.

Mr. Suso provided that glimmer of hope to residents at last night’s selectmen’s meeting, expressing optimism that the gap could decrease even more, as he continues to sort through budgetary issues with school superintendent Bonny L. Gifford.

The town manager said the difference between his budget and Dr. Gifford’s is decreasing thanks to an additional $325,000 in Chapter 70 state aid for public schools that Falmouth is expected to receive next year.

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Additionally, he said, the town’s health insurance budget, originally estimated to increase by 5 percent will only be increased by 2 percent next year. He did not provide a figure for how much this would mean, in savings, to the town.

Combined, these would help reduce the $1.6 million shortfall that was announced earlier this month when Dr. Gifford had originally proposed cutting 44 staff positions, including 15 teachers, to balance her budget.

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As he did two weeks ago when selectmen approved the budget and forwarded it to the finance committee for review, Mr. Suso viewed the budgetary issue as one that could be solved as he continues to work cooperatively with Dr. Gifford. “We are working through this challenge and the gap is shrinking,” he said.

While town officials push for a municipal solution to reduce the gap, residents have started a grassroots effort to push a Proposition 2 1/2 override at Special Town Meeting to ask selectmen to place a question on the ballot in May that would permanently increase taxes to help fund the school budget.

Tonight a number of those residents supporting the override are expected to attend an official public hearing on the school budget at 6:30 PM at Falmouth High School. 

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  • Billcarson

    Falmouth has a history of producing positive facts and putting off today until tomorrow . If you want to know what's going on in Falmouth it's what's not in the news and what the town doesn't want you to know. The Select Board met in executive session to discuss spending more money on wind turbine litigation. How much more time and money are they going to spend beating those court cases against the wind turbines ? The wind turbines were supposed to bring in a revenue stream of one million dollars or more and now the state has notified the town they are out of noise compliance and can only ne run 12 hours a day costing well over 250 thousand a year! Rather that have the town sue the wind turbine victims why not sue the state who provided wind noise studies and the turbines ? Because the town bought Wind 1 through a second party deal to get one million in renewable energy credits ? Where is the Falmouth Energy Committee report on the total cost of electric power for all town departments from the years 2011 and 2012 - Is that a dirty little secret ? Why has the town attorney instructed all town departments not to discuss anything to do with energy ? Folks the answer to the money woes can be blamed on those two commercial wind turbines or as I call them the Trojan Horses. These turbines cost money from the NSTAR electric grid to keep operating heaters and computers when they are shut down. The maintenance warranty is 70 thousand a year each it goes on the wind turbine money pit . The wind turbines are draining the town - wake up - the town got taken in a wind turbine scheme and no one will admit it. Some brave official has to step up to the plate and admit it was a terrible mistake - get in front of the story. Politicians have already been instructed to what to say .The word from Beacon Hill is : "We didn't have a crystal ball we couldn't foresee the future."
  • STFalmouth

    Funny that he had a dollar figure to put on a 5% health insurance increase, but not a 2% increase? interesting. When it suits the schoolboard (scare tactics) they have facts. This is SHAMEFUL on the part of elected schoolboard officials. They INTENTIONALLY created a worst-case scenario and went directly to the voters predicting an end to education as we know it in Falmouth. The result was a predictable, hysterical, knee-jerk reaction of collecting names and having the taxpayers rush to aid. With a wink and a nod they sit back and say "watch the override money pour in!". People of Falmouth, you have been DUPED. VOTE NO ON OVERRIDE!