The Essex Westford School District (EWSD) Board would like to welcome everyone to the most wonderful time of the year--budget season! Each year at this time, the Board and administration begin the process of building the budget for the next calendar year. The budget focus for FY21 is education equity and student achievement. Educational equity means that “every student has access to the educational resources and rigor they need at the right moment in their education across race, gender, language, disability, sexual orientation, family background and/or family income” (MTSS 2019 Field Guide).
Student achievement means “all” students. EWSD currently has an achievement gap--as its students who are white and do not live in poverty perform better in school and on state assessments than the students who do live in poverty. They also outperform students of color and students with disabilities. EWSD owes it to all of its students to close this gap and make student achievement mean “all” students.
The Board kicked off the season with a night of ‘Pie and Pie Charts’ to explain what ingredients go into creating a budget. People can view the slide presentation from this event at ewsd.org. The first budget session took place on December 10 and focused on values and outcomes as they align with EWSD’s vision and multi-year instructional strategic plan. Over the next few months, the Board will host a series of opportunities for the community to become more informed about the budget.
The adjusted schedule will flow in the following manner, starting Jan. 14 when the district discusses budget building blocks and operational expenses. That includes, among others, revenues, technology, child nutrition, and business functions.
The following two week will focus on instructional services and support while Jan. 28 will focus on administration and other support services. At the Feb. 4 Board meeting, the Center for Technology will be addressed, and Feb. 11 will again look at instructional focus.
On Feb. 18, the Board is planning to review the proposed budget, its anticipated tax impact, known variables, cost drivers, and variance reporting. The EWSD annual meeting is slated for April 13, and a vote on the proposed budget will then take place the following day.