The proposed new Falmouth school budget includes 13 new positions, which represents 33% of all new spending. Courtesy / Falmouth School Department

FALMOUTH — The school budget proposed by Superintendent Geoff Bruno represents an increase in spending of $1.5 million, a nearly 4% increase that would add 30 cents per $1,000 of valuation to the tax rate, according to materials provided to the School Board in advance of a workshop scheduled for Friday, March 13.

For a home valued at $400,000, the school spending package would add $121.45 to the annual tax bill.

The fiscal year 2020-21 budget, which totals over $40.1 million, includes more than a dozen new positions that are needed to meet the increasing need for both educational and support programs, Bruno said.

Falmouth Superintendent of Schools Geoff Bruno is recommending a new school budget of $40.1 million, which would add $121.45 to the tax bill of a home valued at $400,000. File

The new budget, he said, addresses an acute need for more educational technicians at the elementary school, English-language learner support at the middle and high schools and a new alternative learning program at the high school.

The budget also includes new positions to provide more social, emotional and behavioral assistance at the elementary school.

Bruno is requesting 11 new full-time positions, along with two part-time staffers who would increase music instruction for students in kindergarten through second grade. The new positions would add $500,500 to the budget and represent 33% of the increase being proposed.

The budget proposal calls for hiring seven new educational technicians at the elementary school for $245,000. Bruno said these positions are needed to provide one-to-one support for incoming kindergartners who need help with everything from toileting to what he called “emotional regulation.”

Another $85,000 would go toward creating the Bridge Program for at-risk students at the high school, Bruno said. The funds would be used to hire a specialized teacher who can provide support to students experiencing a wide variety of social-emotional challenges.

While a significant portion of the budget is for new positions, Bruno said the majority of the increased spending, at just over $782,000, or 52%, is dedicated to salaries and benefits for existing school staff.

Bruno told the school board the requested funding is “necessary to meet the diverse needs of all learners, promote character, responsibility and citizenship in our students, strengthen the performance of our evolving learning organization and provide the technology (and) facilities infrastructure necessary to excel in a 21st-century global community.”

The public will get a chance to weigh in on the spending proposal during a public hearing set for 7 p.m. April 1 at Town Hall. The School Board will hold a final vote on the budget April 6 and residents will get the final say during a town-wide referendum on June 9.

Full budget materials are available on the School Department website, at falmouthschools.org.

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