2024-2025 Budget Reductions

2024-2025 Budget Reductions
Posted on 03/20/2024

The Chester School District Annual Meeting was held on March 6, 2024. The original proposed school district operating budget for fiscal year 2025 (warrant article 3) was $16,088,117 which was an increase of $1,152,134 or 7.71%.  The primary drivers for that increase were in mandated services, contractual salaries, and tuition costs external to Chester Academy. 


During the discussion and deliberation of this warrant article, a member of the public requested an amendment to the recommended school budget, which would reduce the budget by $405,335; changing the increase from 7.71% to 5%. This amendment was voted on and passed in a ballot vote 78-75. Subsequently warrant article 3 was passed with the reduced budget of $15,682,782. The amount reduced from the proposed operating budget was not related to any specific item, program, or activity.  


The Chester School Board held a budget workshop on March 13th to strategically address the reduction from the operating budget that was passed at the District Meeting. The school board believes that we have identified the areas that are the least impactful to operations and to students' education while still meeting the reduced budget.  


Some of the identified reductions are deferred expenses that will need to be addressed in next year’s budget, while others carry the risk that we will need additional funds beyond what is budgeted. If additional funds are needed, we have the option to withdraw from our current reserves, either the Retained Fund or Educating Disabled Students Fund. Below is a table highlighting each reduction, as well as a brief explanation. 


If anyone has questions related to these changes, please contact one of the School Board Members.




Details / Discussion

Reduce Out Of District Placement Budget


This is a reduction in the budget only.  These placements are required by law, we may be required to use the Educating Disabled Students Fund.

Reduce projected Pinkerton enrollment by 5 students


Since completing the initial budget process, we learned of five students moving out of the district. If additional students enroll at Pinkerton Academy the district may be required to use the Retained Fund.

Defer the purchase of Science Curriculum materials for grades 6-8.

Reduce or pre-buy academic materials and software


The school has a curriculum replacement schedule, where each year a subject’s curriculum is replaced. The science curriculum was due for replacement this year. We had already deferred the lower grades during the budget cycle and are now also deferring grades 6-8. The scheduled curriculum material purchases will resume in the 25/26 budget.

Temporary adjustment to part time Director of Learning and Growth Position


For one year only, an interim part time staff member will provide the non administrative portions of this role and the administrative portions will move to our administrators. We will revisit the role with the input of the Superintendent in the 25/26 budget cycle.

Reduce Paraeducator Salary Budget 


There will not be any further reductions in paraeducator positions. Turnover through the year is typical, causing periods of vacancy. This amount represents the cost associated with potential vacancies. If all current paraeducators remain in their jobs and no turnover occurs, the district may need to use the Retained Fund.

Reduce Facilities Repairs, Defer Maintenance


Defer maintenance projects until the 25/26 school year. Repairs that exceed this budget line may require use of the Retained Fund.

Eliminate Ballistic Window Film project


The School Board is considering whether it is possible to complete this in the current year or if it will be deferred to the 25/26 school year.

Reduce Cafeteria Expenditure 


Reduction to the cafeteria budget.

Reduce Teacher Course Reimbursement 


The Teachers Union (CEA) offered this reduction as a one-time effort to help with necessary reductions.

Reduce classroom and general school academic supplies


All supply expenditures will be reduced. The school will have a more extensive list of school supplies for parents to provide in the next school year.

Reduce Budget for Propane


This estimates a reduction in cost, but there is a risk that usage and rate do not result in a reduction.

Reduce planned furniture replacement


The school has a furniture replacement schedule. We will delay some of the planned classroom/student furniture replacement until the following year. 

Reduce Technology Expenditures


Temporary reduction to technology equipment and communication items.

Eliminate Late Bus Tues/Thurs


Though we recognize that this will pose a challenge for families utilizing the late bus, this is a full elimination of this service that currently runs on Tuesday and Thursday.

Reduce 2 Athletic Coaching Positions


Eliminate budget for Spirit Coach and Cross Country Assistant Coach.  Note that these positions were not filled/needed for the 23/24 school year. These roles, if desired, could be filled with unpaid approved volunteers.