Marblehead School Committee talks budgets

On Monday, principals and directors of Marblehead Public Schools presented their budget requests for FY2024 at the School Committee’s budget workshop.

Eleven departments were on the agenda, with nearly all department budgets rising from their FY2023 costs, totaling $1,415,710 in budget requests. 

Marblehead High School Principal Dan Bauer, who will be leaving at the end of the year to become Superintendent of Danvers Public Schools, presented the high school’s budget. In the presentation, he noted that enrollment for next school year is set to decline by roughly 19 total students, which Bauer noted could be due to students leaving for other schools as well as a number of other possible factors. 

“If you look at our enrollment, we are in a situation where we are in some decline, but last year we projected 877 (students), so I think we did pretty good, we’re actually above that projection at 884,” said Bauer. “Our average over the last five years for the freshman class is 230, that’s gone down. But I think based on that survival rate we analyzed many years ago, we certainly retain our students at that rate, particularly post-COVID.”

The budget also noted staffing requests for a college/career assistant, and curriculum director, which would use reallocated funds from positions moved last year. Staffing requests also included adding two hall monitors, an ASL (American Sign Language) teacher, an equity coach, and a data intervention coach. 

Marblehead Athletic Director Greg Ceglarski presented the athletic department’s budget to kick off the meeting. In his presentation, he noted that the department was looking to add an extra athletic trainer that would be able to fill in for Marblehead’s current athletic trainer if they could not make an event.

Another matter of importance for Ceglarski was transportation to and from meets and practices. When asked if the number of buses currently available was sufficient, he said that while athletics is doing fine with the number of buses and drivers it has, more would always be welcomed, while acknowledging that obtaining more transportation is a luxury. 

“More buses would be a dream come true, that’s not reality unfortunately,” said Ceglarski. “I think what we do right now is pretty solid. We do the best we can.”

For the Tech Department, Director Stephen Kwiatek incorporated a number of upgrades into the budget including adding a tech integration specialist and changing the brand of computers that students use from PC to Mac.

Upgraded security was also a main focus with an updated security system proposed for the Glover School that involves additional swipe card access for the service elevator and the first floor door near first grade classrooms, as well as an investment in Barracuda email defense to block spam from entering the schools’ email systems.

Director of the Facilities Department Todd Blodgood presented his department’s budget, which had a heavy emphasis on staffing. Among the priorities listed included a head groundskeeper and three groundworkers. He also noted that the department is looking to refurbish the turf field at the high school in the next few years. 

The Office of Teaching and Learning and Central Administration departments also presented their budget at the meeting as well as the Veterans Middle, Village, Glover, and Brown schools.