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Sapelli outlines proposed FY13 school budget

Date: 4/17/2012

April 18, 2012

By Debbie Gardner

AGAWAM — School Superintendent William Sapelli gave a clear, concise outline of his proposed fiscal year 2013 (FY13) budget for the Agawam Public Schools during the School Committee's April 10 meeting.

The public will have its opportunity to review and comment on the budget during a public hearing slated for 6:30 p.m. on April 24 at the Roberta G. Doering School, 68 Main St.

Sapelli's $36.4 million request represents a level service budget — one that would continue to supply students with the same educational opportunities and services the district offered during the 2011-12 school year. He indicated that the proposed FY13 budget — which represents an increase of $1.9 million over the department's FY12 spending — incorporates a number of fixed costs.

His presentation listed those costs, broken down as salary increases for a total of five bargaining units, vocational tuition increases for 16 students, cost hikes to provide transportation and special education services and spending associated with implementing the new Common Core and Teacher Evaluation standards.

Sapelli also noted the district had already spent $200,000 in School Choice funds to pre-purchase materials necessary to implement some of the Common Core standards, thereby reducing its final budget request.

Alluding to some of the difficulties with the FY12 budget process, Sapelli also noted that the proposed FY13 included "no staff reductions, no elimination of programs, no increase in existing fees, and no new additional fees."

School Committee member Shelley Reed thanked Sapelli for "the clear way [this year's] budget is presented."

School Committee member Anthony Bonavita agreed, saying what he liked about this year's budget was the simple presentation.

"It's not five different scenarios and five different budgets," Bonavita said. "This was easy for everyone to understand."

Sapelli said the budget he presented represented "a lot of cooperation" between the School Committee Budget Subcommittee and members of the City Council Finance Subcommittee, Mayor Richard Cohen, the Public Schools Central Office staff and the administrators of the town's seven schools.

He added that he had worked to get a copy of the completed budget into the full School Committee's hands that night, prior to the April school vacation, so that the committee would have adequate time to review it prior to the upcoming public hearing.

The public can review a copy of the proposed Agawam Public Schools FY13 budget at the Agawam Public Library, the City Clerk's Office in the Town Hall or online on the town's website at

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