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The Chicopee Public Schools Finance and Budget subcommittee met on April 10 to continue discussing the FY25 budget.
Reminder Publishing screen capture by Tyler Garnet

CHICOPEE — The Chicopee Public Schools Finance and Budget subcommittee met on April 10 to continue discussing the preliminary fiscal year 2025 budget.

Chicopee School’s Director of Budget and Finance John Miarecki said he was giving a more financially detailed plan than the one at their last meeting on March 27.

Miarecki recently explained that Gov. Maura Healey’s proposed FY25 foundation budget was recently released, allocating approximately $129 million to Chicopee Public Schools which averages to about $17,000 per pupil. This is an increase of approximately $7 million from FY24.

He went on to provide a breakdown of the budget. Miarecki said that the district is trying to create a more “needs based” budget which takes two or three years to implement.

“It’s data informed allocation of resources and a focus on managing the whole which allows for all aspects of the district to be goal aligned and moving together in an equitable, mission focused manner,” he added.

The expense budget was presented with a pie chart and showed that expenses are 23.3% of the budget and 76.7% of the budget is going towards salaries. The total amount for salaries is $102.5 million and other expenses is $31.1 million.
“Percentage wise, this meets what a normal organization kind of has in between that 70% to 80% of salaries,” Miarecki added.

In terms of the budget for each school, the needs based budget has caused a reduction to most schools like Barry Elementary School is looking at a $12,700 reduction from FY24 to FY25 and Belcher Elementary School is looking at a $19,700 reduction.

Categories that were listed throughout the different schools included curriculum expenses, general supplies, principal expenditures, building technology, textbooks consumables, instructional equipment, instructional materials, athletic department expenses and school security.

Miarecki explained the reasons for the reductions.

He said, “One of the things you are going to notice in many of the schools, you might see a difference in between FY24 and FY25 that you might see larger than normal. This goes back to our need based budget that we are trying to do. We are trying to look at what their spending, how their spending it and putting it into numbers across different categories, not the per pupil like we have done in the past.”

He added that some of the instructional equipment is also being taken care of at the district level and is not being inputted in the site budget.

The rest of the schools in the district all face reductions in their budget like Bowe Elementary School is proposed to have $25,560 reduction, Bowie Elementary School, $20,560.

Szetela Pre-School is projected to see approximately a $3,000 increase as well Chicopee Academy, projected to see a $47,860 increase. Chicopee High School will also see an increase, as well as some districtwide expenses like water, sewer and professional services.

Superintendent Dr. Marcus Ware talked about the district taking a deeper look at a need based budget.

He said, “There was actually a formula, we took the number of students, multiplied it by a number and that would be their total. What we discussed this year is literally going down what the needs are so that is why you will see drastic changes in a lot of the building-by-building numbers. We are working towards what should be spent.”

Ware and Miarecki said the budget is still a work in progress and will still be making minor changes before presenting the final proposed budget to the School Committee.

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