How the School Spends on You

How is the school budget decided and spent on for the students

Ryan Grondine, Staff Writer

If I asked you what was in your school budget, I would bet that no one could answer that. The reason for this is because no one has ever bothered to actually try and learn what the school spends their money on for improvements. In the last couple of weeks I asked our superintendent Mr. Friend about what exactly goes on in the background for school budgets.

The first question I asked Mr. Friend about is how the entire process is started. The first thing that happens is that the superintendent does is to email the administrators for each department to get the basic idea of the budget that has to go into the departments. This entire process lasts from the end of September through December where committee meetings are held to finalize the budget amounts.

Another thing that happens is that the principals of each school has to factor in the classroom materials so they can determine how much extra money goes towards those. Approximately seventy-seven percent of the School Operating Budget is made up of salary expenses and another seven percent of the budget is tied up in multi year contracts across the district which includes utilities, transportation, and trash which have built in year by year increases (three to five percent). Along with that another seven percent of the budget is tied to out-of-district SPED Tuition payments. Private SPED Tuition rates are set by the State and, in the next year will increase by two to three percent

The second question I asked is about the classroom and how he decides how much money goes into the different classroom materials or if he has to buy a big batch of things for each department that includes things that entire math department or science department needs and includes those into things like calculators or test tubes for science. It’s up to the principals to decide on classroom materials for what they need throughout the year and if they need to get restocked quicker than that.

The third question I asked was how many people are normally in the meetings and he said that most of the administrators are present for them.

The fourth question was how they divide the budget between the schools, and he said that all of that is taken care of during the beginning of the process and then determined at the sub committee meetings to be finalized. This determines the left over budget and things that need to be taken away from certain departments to upgrade or improve their on facilities like trash and water or heating.


The second person that I interviewed was Mr. McCarthy. I asked him whether or not each department gets the same amount of budget or do certain departments like science get a bigger budget because they have more experiments that they can do. He said that department budgets get set based on basic needs (like materials for experiments, art supplies, text books) and school initiatives. For example, if a department is teaching a new course – like Robotics next year – that course/department may need additional funds.

The second question I asked was how classroom materials get decided and how long does that usually take to figure out and he said that Ms. Senecal deals with all of the ordering of basic supplies for a classroom like paper, pencils, markers, and that it takes here very little time to do so.

The third question I asked was how did they decide on giving chrome books to every student and how much did that cost the school. He said that we decided to move to a 1:1 program because of the pandemic.  Last year, students were spending two days home a week and needed reliable, affordable devices. but then kept the rule from when we transitioned into full time in school

The final question I asked was what else he oversees during the school budgeting, and to my surprise he only sends the proposed budget to the superintendent which is then sent to the school committee.