HANOVER — The South Shore Tech School Committee has been presented with a fiscal 2021 budget increase of 4.09 percent —$589,319 — increase that would also decrease the total assessments to member towns. An increase in non-resident tuition is expected to offset the budget increase, according to Superintendent-Director Dr. Thomas J. Hickey.
State aid figures for Chapter 70 funds are not yet available, but the district assumes level funding will be continued. Regional transportation reimbursement, meanwhile, is being assumed at 80 percent — up from 70 percent in fiscal 2020 — and the budget total assumes that stabilization funds will remain at $37,280 to defray bus lease costs.
The committee heard Hickey’s annual budget presentation on Wednesday, Dec. 18.
“Whatever we value, that’s what we budget for,” Hickey said to open his presentation. “We build our budget from zero.”
A Jan. 22 public hearing on the budget is planned.
Supplies and technology costs, such as for steel or tools, will increase in some programs. There is also $89,644 in new personnel requests, such as moving a graphic communications instructor to full-time as well as adding English Learner and horticulture instructors and a horticulture aide.
Capital requests for 2021 total $782,414 — including septic and roof repairs on the building.
The project design cost included in the 2021 budget comes to $199,936 for the design and $69,978 for an owner’s project manager.
Hiring an owner’s project manager and design will be the first steps toward deciding what the district will go out for bid for planned capital projects. The work could be done separately, the roof one year and windows the next, or do it all at once. The original cost estimate from fiscal 2018 came in at $1,236,800 for the roof and $396,625 for the windows, and $1,777,425, including the cost of metal panels under the windows. For fiscal 2021 the 4-percent hike brings the total cost to $1,999,361 with a 6.5-percent contingency plan of $129,958 built in.
Cost increases anticipated at 4 percent per year, brought the combined projects cost to $1,848,522 in fiscal 2019 and to $1,922,63 in fiscal 2020.
Accomplishments for the past year include continuing strong growth in MCAS scores and student attainment of third-party vocational credentials. The school is also actively involved with area workforce development boards and the South Shore Chamber of Commerce and has implemented work-based adult education programs.
The district has also used skills capital grants to bring in $300,000 for capital purchases. It goes into the fiscal 2021 budget year owing only the final interest payment on the 2010 roof and window project debt.
Another roof and window project for the newer wing of the school is among the capital goals.
Other budgetary goals include expansion of the horticulture and landscape program, building a “clean room” with grant funds for the storing of metal fabrication and machining inspection equipment, expansion of adult education and workforce development partnerships and for analysis of school operations accountability as well as social-emotional learning initiatives.
Student attendance and expansion of the breakfast program participation are also planned.