FY 2020-21 Proposed Budget Update July 15, 2020

Barrington Public Schools

FY 2020-21 Proposed Budget Update

July 15, 2020

Financial Town Meeting, - Saturday, July 18, 2020, 9:00 A.M. – Victory Field

Dear Barrington families, staff, and community members,

Barrington Public Schools is committed to providing all students a first-rate teaching and learning opportunity, in a safe and secure environment, resulting in our students obtaining the necessary skills to be successful in college or their chosen career.

As evidenced by our school district’s recent achievements, our students are provided with a strong Pre K–12 educational foundation: 

●      The opening of the New Barrington Middle School;

●      Barrington High School was ranked a top 2019 RI high school by Rhode Island Monthly;

●      Barrington High School Class of 2019 was rated the #1 SAT School in Rhode Island;

●      Barrington High School, Barrington Middle School, Hampden Meadows Elementary School, Primrose Hill Elementary School, and Nayatt Elementary School were recognized as Commended Schools by the Rhode Island Department of Education;

●      Barrington Public Schools was recognized as the only Common-Sense Media Certified District in Rhode Island;

●      Barrington High School was recognized as one of the most challenging high schools in the country by The Washington Post;

●      Barrington High School’s Science Olympiad team competed at Nationals for the 10th year in a row;

●      Barrington High School’s LifeSmarts team won the national annual competition;

●      Barrington High School was awarded the 2020 Top High School Award by U.S. News and World Reportsplacing 199th nationally; and

●      Barrington High School was awarded the 2019 Top STEM High School Award by U.S. News and World Reports, placing 182nd nationally.

On June 10, 2020, the Committee on Appropriations (COA) recommended the District’s Operating Budget, as approved by the School Committee on June 25, 2020, in the amount of $54,460,526.  This includes an increase of $2,003,178, or a 3.8% increase from FY20 with a 3.9% impact on the tax levy.  A Budget Hearing was also held on July 1, 2020 - you can download the presentation here.

Barrington Public Schools has historically managed the public’s resources by carefully examining our budget proposals to ensure that it is both student-centered and fiscally responsible. It is for this reason that we are not visualizing program cuts or staff layoffs at this time.

We also realize that there is a significant amount of tax burden placed on Barrington residents.  For this reason Barrington Schools continues to apply for, and have successfully received multiple grants to support programs and initiatives.  The grant awards we receive are an alternative funding source directed toward initiatives that support health, safety and academic programs that support our students and educators.  Please see a summary of recent grants we have been awarded here.

The Barrington Public Schools budget is a balanced budget, yet some expenses vary and are not as easily estimated in advance, such as support services for special education and out of district tuition. During the year, the Administration monitors all costs and makes adjustments as needed. As a result, the District has, in recent years, ended the school year within approximately 1.5% of the total approved budget. The Town and School Department have been acknowledged by bond rating agencies for their responsible fiscal management of funds. Any surplus funds at the end of the school year are used for one-time, long-term capital Improvement projects, which are eligible for 35% State Housing Aid reimbursement. The strategic use of these funds for facility repairs and improvements has allowed our community to avoid issuing bonds for many capital projects, saving money on bonding fees and other debt.  Public input for long-range planning is solicited through the Town’s Budget Forecasting Committee and though membership and participation in our Facility Advisory Committee.  The FY21 Budget Forecasting Committee Report can be found here.

The following budget is written and delivered in the midst of a public health crisis, with a level of uncertainty about what impact COVID-19 has on Rhode Island’s economy and funding for local schools. Yet, amid this global pandemic and uncertainty, one thing remains true: Our students, staff, and community are exceptional. Our community came together to support one another and deliver a world-class education for our students, and will continue to do so with your support.

We encourage the voters of Barrington to attend the Financial Town Meeting on Saturday, July 18 at 9 a.m. on Victory Field and participate in this critical step in determining what resources will be available for our students as we work towards reopening our schools this fall. Bring chairs, hats, sunscreen, and water.

Thank you,

Mike Messore