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Budget sees highest increase

By Dan Cooper

Staff Intern

EAST LONGMEADOW - Superintendent Dr. Edward Costa presented the school budget for FY08 to the School Committee at their April 2 meeting. According to Costa, the state funding is the highest increase East Longmeadow has seen.

"We have great support with the Appropriations Committee," Costa said. "There are no battles to be fought in the budget. Governor Deval Patrick has been good to East Longmeadow."

The recommended budget for FY08 will be $22,576,469, which includes salary obligations, program restorations from previous cuts, and escalating fuel and utility costs. The budget's total increase from FY07 is $1, 576, 613.

Chapter 70 state funding has increased as well, from $4, 616, 186 in FY07 to $7, 260, 292, a 57 percent increase of $2, 644, 106 from Gov. Patrick.

"East Longmeadow is finally getting the money it deserves from the state, and it's about time they (the state) help the town," Costa said.

Costa said there are five major goals to build the School Department's budget.

The five goals are to maintain current staffing levels, maintain current academic programs, maintain existing school facilities, forecast utilities and fuel costs, and to restore previous cuts in positions and programs.

Costa explained that there are six major parts to next year's budget. The budget is divided into instructional services, student services, maintenance, utilities, site administration, and the central office.

Costa explained that instructional services, which include teacher salaries, paraprofessionals, substitutes, and textbooks, have increased by $1, 079, 994 to $16, 044, 784.

Student services, which include nurse services, transportation, guidance services, and coaching salaries, has a FY08 total of $43, 156, 884, an increase of $348, 806.

Maintenance, which includes custodial services and building maintenance, has seen a $79, 711 increase for FY08 to $1, 116, 760.

The utilities budget for FY08 has seen a small $385 increase to $732, 060. Utilities include plumbing, electric, heating, and phones.

Site administration, including principals' salaries, report card printing, and accreditations, has increased for FY08 to $994, 409, a jump of $37, 875.

The final part, the central office, which includes the School Committee and superintendent's office, has seen a $29, 842 increase to $531, 572.

"These numbers are final," Costa said. "Every penny is accounted for."

Costa said he hopes to bring back cut positions from the last four years. "We had to cut positions because the state's economy was tanking," he said.

Cutbacks from the last four fiscal years amounted to a total of $1, 071, 744.

Anyone who would like to view Costa's proposed budget presentation can go to the School Department's web site link on the East Longmeadow home page at

Business Manager Theresa Olejarz also updated the committee on the fuel oil status. "I have no good news in this regard," she said. "The price keeps increasing."

Costa added that to lock in now would be futile.

Costa also added that the School Committee's May 21 meeting will have to be rescheduled due to the Town Meeting.

The next School Committee meeting is scheduled for April 23 in the School Committee Conference Room.