The Revere School Committee met this week to review a preliminary budget for 2024.
It wasn’t easy. The School Department’s Ways and Means Subcommittee handed off a 140-plus page first draft (available on the city’s website).
“This was an introductory budget meeting, nothing is permanent,” said Michael Ferrante, who is chair of the Ways and Means Subcommittee. “We need a basis with which to start.”
School Dept. Chief Financial Officer Matt Kruse presented some of the numbers and reminded the committee of some of the rules and requirements from the byzantine world of educational funding and formulas. The district is expecting $98,418,182 in Chapter 70 state educational aid, $13.9 million more than last year or a 16 percent increase.
“Our idea is to present big-picture items and have the committee get their bearings on the upcoming budget season and how the budget implements the superintendent’s educational vision,” said Kruse.
While the piles of pages with long multicolored columns of numbers isn’t always easy to follow, there are interesting nuggets of information throughout.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) sets the amount every school district in the state must budget. Municipalities with districts that fail to comply may lose state aid or face other penalties.
DESE determines a district’s net spending by combining a school district’s annual surplus with other financial measures. School department number crunchers project Revere’s required net school spending will be $142,967,574.
“The school department is required to spend a certain amount of money every year, and we try,” said Kruse, adding that often the district is a little bit off. Last year, the district had a surplus of $7,037,360. This year’s anticipated surplus is about $6 million.
“It needs to be spent in the following year,” said Kruse, adding, “The first $5 million will be invested in classroom teachers, which has been the practice.”
Anticipated grant funding was included in the numbers. The district is expecting $13 million in federal coronavirus relief funding as well as an additional $6 million in other federal grants. There’s also another $380,000 in state grants on the horizon.