Proposed School Budget Just Under $50 Million

December 2, 2016



by Barbara O’Brien

After not taking the proposed 2017-2018 Windham School District budget up for discussion until the end of a very long meeting, and after haranguing over the need for new lockers at Windham Middle School for some 45 minutes, school board members were finally able to agree on a number.

Earlier in the evening, Business Administrator William Hickey, who took on the job last July, recommended an operating budget of $50,103,691.  That amount was subsequently reduced to $50,025,311; after middle school lockers (phase 2), security doors at Windham Center School and fencing at one end of an athletic field at Windham High School were removed from the budget proposal.

That wasn’t the end of the cuts, however.  At the urging of school board member Ken Eyring, Superintendent Richard Langlois, somewhat reluctantly agreed to remove an additional $30,000 from the proposed operating budget.  Eyring wanted the budget proposal to come in at less than $50 million, noting the importance of voters’ perception.

As it stands now, the proposed 2017-2018 operating budget totals $49,995,311.  Although he did not detail where he would take the additional $30,000 from, Langlois did say that he would find the money someplace.  Langlois had already expressed frustration with the school board’s long drawn-out debate about the lockers, a problem that has existed and been discussed repeatedly for several years.  Langlois commented on the importance of focusing on educational priorities and making decisions.

Once next year’s proposed budget was whittled down by $108,600 from what Hickey originally recommended, the increase over the current year’s budget stands at about 3.5 percent.  The approved budget for the 2016-2017 school year totals $48,588,990.  The 2016-2017 school budgets is $1,406,321 less than that proposed for 2017-2018.

Options for dealing with the lockers, a situation which is said to be dire, due to the condition of the old lockers, as well as a likely insufficient number next year, and options for installing security doors at Center School, are expected to be on the agenda for the Tuesday, Dec. 13 school board meeting.  Public input will be taken.