Dr. Scott Carpenter
Superintendent, Monomoy Regional School District
Office of the Superintendent
425 Crowell Road, 2nd Floor, Chatham, MA 02633
phone: (508) 945-5130 fax: (508) 945-5133
The FY20 MRSD BudgetPosted by Scott Carpenter on 4/4/2019
Dear Harwich and Chatham Citizens,
I’d like to thank you for your continued support of the Monomoy Regional School District. The school district’s FY20 budget allows Monomoy to maintain its vibrant academic programs, while also moving forward initiatives identified in the district’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan. Within this Strategic Plan are four main objectives:
- Expand community engagement and partnerships;
- Strengthen social and emotional well-being;
- Close the achievement gap; and
- Improve curriculum, instruction, and assessment for all learners.
Examples of some of the initiatives addressed within the FY20 budget include: enhancing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math at the elementary level; providing more supports for struggling learners at the middle school level, where the district is currently seeing the largest increase in enrollment; and hiring additional high school staff to work with English Language Learners for whom English is not their native language.
Monomoy Schools continue to offer a strong and forward-thinking curriculum, varied opportunities for students both within the school day and in terms of extracurricular activities, and a warm and welcoming environment. Of note is that according to the State’s Department of Elementary and Secondary School’s rating system, Monomoy Regional Middle School had the highest accountability rating of any middle school on Cape Cod (with a higher rating than any other public or charter middle school on the Cape).
The positive trends within Monomoy’s enrollment are continuing, which is a testament to the strong academic programming and rich extracurricular and athletic opportunities that we have developed since regionalization. The numbers across the district clearly indicate that families who had in the past considered a charter school or school choice to another school district are realizing the strength of the opportunities available within their local, hometown schools. The number of students leaving the district to charter schools is down, as is the number leaving through school choice to other districts. We are also seeing an increase in the number of families from outside of Harwich and Chatham wanting to see their children attending Monomoy’s schools. All these indicators reflect well on the strength of Monomoy’s programs, teachers, and community.
During the 2018-2019 school year, 1,891 students attended Monomoy Schools, which is an increase of 25 students over the prior year’s enrollment. The increase in enrollment in 2018-2019 is somewhat of an anomaly, as the number of school-aged children across Cape Cod is in decline. This phenomenon is impacting both Harwich and Chatham, albeit at a faster rate within Chatham. Over the past three years, Monomoy has seen an enrollment decrease of 58 students. As such, the FY20 budget modestly adjusts staffing downward to mirror the decline in student enrollment, with a net reduction of 3.2 teachers and a handful of support staff positions – this staffing reduction will not impact program offerings and continues to maintain relatively small and supportive class sizes.
The decline in enrollment is currently most pronounced at our elementary levels. Where Chatham Elementary School once had three sections of kindergarten three years ago, we now consistently see enrollment from Chatham families to run only two sections of kindergarten. In FY20, this enrollment decline begins to impact Harwich Elementary as well, and we are now seeing only enough enrollment to support five sections of kindergarten in a town that long produced enough kindergarteners to fill six classrooms. This decline in school-aged children in our towns is an issue bigger than the schools but an important topic to understand, debate, strategize, and address. It’s also important to note that increasing the numbers of incoming school-choice students to artificially create additional sections at each grade level is neither a reliable solution to demographic shifts nor a fiscally sound decision.
Low health insurance increases for FY20, a favorable new bus transportation agreement with the Cape Cod Collaborative, and a modest staff reduction helped limit Monomoy’s FY20 General Fund Budget increase to only 2.6% over FY19. The school district will be using $550,000 from its Excess and Deficiency reserve to help reduce its FY20 assessment to the towns. When calculating assessments, the district uses the minimum required contribution calculated by the state specifically for each town. Because of the shift in foundation enrollment between Harwich and Chatham, Harwich’s minimum required contribution went up by $671,754 and Chatham’s minimum required contribution went down by $152,529. This created an FY20 assessment increase for Harwich of 4.04%, while Chatham will experience an assessment decrease (-0.78%). Chatham’s FY20 assessment will be $9,138,886, a decrease of $71,800 from FY19. Harwich’s FY20 assessment will be $26,643,415, an increase of $1,034,025 over FY19.
We appreciate your support of our FY20 budget, as it allows us to continue to provide a high-quality education to the children of our towns. On the district’s website, you can learn more about our budget (including an annotated presentation of Monomoy’s FY20 budget) and find out about each school and its educational program by selecting a specific school at the top right on any page on the district’s website.
I continue to be proud to be a Monomoy Shark - thank you for your support!
Dr. Scott Carpenter
Monomoy Regional School District