The 2018 Annual Town meeting concluded on Wednesday, May 16. Among the over 40 articles voted on by Town Meeting Members were several that impact Needham Schools.
ANNUAL TOWN MEETING ARTICLES:
Article 16: FY19 Operating Budget (approved)
The school operating budget (primarily salaries and expenses) of $71,105,943 was approved within the town's operating budget. This represents a 4.03% increase over the previous year's budget, driven primarily by contractual salary increases and expanded student support services in the areas of special education, guidance, nursing, and English Language Learner (ELL) programs. Also included were additional staffing to support increased enrollment, and late buses for middle and high school students participating in after-school activities.
The detailed budget report is available on the NPS website, broken into four parts:
Article 28: Emery Grover Feasibility Study (referred)
The Emery Grover school administration building is in need of significant repairs, and has been on the town's Facilities Master Plan for many years. In 2013, a feasibility study was conducted that explored the options for administrative space: renovation of Emery Grover, purchase of a commercial property, or new construction on another site. This year, $70,000 was requested to "refresh" the 2013 study, with a focus on the cost to renovate/reconstruct the existing building. Because Emery Grover is a historic building on the national registry, the request was to use Community Preservation Committee (CPC) funding.
The article was NOT approved, and was instead referred back to the Select Board for further consideration. Discussion centered primarily around concerns that by using CPC funding, the town had already decided the best course of action was to renovate the existing building, rather than explore other options that might be less expensive. A revised article related to Emery Grover will most likely appear on the warrant for Special Town Meeting this fall.
Article 30: Memorial Park Building Construction (approved)
Although not technically under Needham Public Schools, many high school athletic programs make use of the Memorial Park Building. $6,250,000 was appropriated for the new structure, which will include separate spaces for both home and visiting teams, restrooms for teams and park users, and a concession area, along with storage and meeting space for town groups.
Article 32: General Fund Cash Capital (approved)
This article , which appropriates funds for one-time smaller capital improvements, included several school-related projects, including:
Pollard Blue & Green Gym Upgrades ($540,000)
Pollard Phased Improvements Feasibility Study ($65,000)
School Furniture & Equipment ($60,500)
School Phone System Replacement ($319,000)
School Photocopier Replacement ($84,190)
School Technology Replacement ($303,600)
SPECIAL TOWN MEETING ARTICLES:
These are articles that were not ready when the Annual Town Meeting Warrant was published, but were included in the warrant for Special Town Meeting, which always takes place on the second Monday of May.
Article 5: Mitchell School Locker Replacement (approved)
$70,000 was appropriated to replace the current lockers, which are both broken and too narrow for students to use.
Article 6: Mitchell School Modular Classrooms (approved)
$210,000 was appropriated for study and design of two modular classrooms to accommodate Full-Day Kindergarten in September 2019. Additional funding will be requested at the Special Town Meteing in the fall for actual construction costs.
Article 7: High School Expansion (approved)
Due to an accelerated construction scheduled and rising construction costs, an additional $431,000 was requested for the High School renovation project.
Watch 2018 Town Meeting: