School district’s budget focusing on technology

SOUTHWICK – The Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional School District gave a presentation at last week’s school committee meeting for their proposed Fiscal Year 2020 budget.

The district is proposing a 1.47% increase, which is about $393,000 of last year’s proposed budget. The total amount for the proposed budget was $25,266,518. For FY 19, the district asked for a 1.39% increase from the FY 18 budget.

The minimum local contribution for the Chapter 70 program that each school district in Massachusetts is required to give is what has mostly caused the Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional School District’s increase for this year’s proposed budget. According to Steve Presnal, the district’s business manager, Southwick’s minimum local contribution is going up by $328,103. Granville’s contribution is expected to go down by $5,525 while Tolland is decreasing by $24,751.

The major proposed line item for the district this year is the plan to enhance student technology in all three schools. In an attempt to move toward an environment where each student from grades three to twelve has their own computer, the district sees this item as a necessity.

“It’s where we see the educational environment going,” said Presnal. “Getting more devices into student’s hands is the next phase to this.”

A phase by phase approach, this technology plan would start in FY 20. The initial cost for FY 20 will be about $70,000 and will increase each year by a little more than $70,000. Presnal said that the total cost for the technology plan will be anywhere from $270,000 to $280,000.

Other proposed initiatives for this year’s proposed budget includes continuing with reduced class sizes, professional development, and to refine and develop a student-centered and engaging curriculum.

Since the proposed budget has been presented, a vote will be taken at an upcoming school committee meeting to see if the committee will approve the budget. If the budget happens to be passed by the school committee, it will then be reviewed by the Select Board and Finance Committee and drafted up as a warrant article for the annual town meeting in May.

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