Friday, April 17, 2015

Worcester School Committee for the rest of the year

Here's the schedule:
April 30, 2015

May 7, 2015
May 21, 2015

June 4, 2015 (4:00 p.m.)*
June 18, 2015 (4:00 p.m.)*

July 23, 2015 (4:00 p.m.)

August 20, 2015 (4:00 p.m.)

September 3, 2015
September 17, 2015

October 1, 2015
October 15, 2015

November 5, 2015
November 19, 2015

December 3, 2015
December 17, 2015

*Budget hearing begins at four, followed by executive session at 6, a regular meeting at 7, then back to budget (on June 18) until the budget is completed, if necessary.

Familiar name pops up in astroturf

I don't know if anyone in Worcester remembers former Stand for Children organizer Maggie Paynich. She's just popped up on the national astroturf scene  as one of StudentFirst's paid astroturf bloggers (scroll down to "Seeding the Field").

"Higher education is a vision, not a calculation."

Thanks to Professor Jack Schneider for sharing "A Scholar's Quest," remarks made by Professor James March to a faculty seminar at Stanford Graduate School of Business.
A university is only incidentally a market. It is more essentially a temple —a temple dedicated to knowledge and a human spirit of inquiry. Itis a place where learning and scholarship are revered, not primarily for what they contribute to personal or social well being but for the vision of humanity that they symbolize, sustain, and pass on.
Do go read all of it.

Governance scheduled for April 28

For those following policy issues: there is a Governance subcommittee meeting now posted for April 28 at 5 pm for the DAB fourth floor conference room.

Why to study the liberal arts

From Nicholas Kristoff

(with bonus quote from John Adams)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Jonathan Kozol in Cambridge on May 6!

Jonathan Kozol is speaking on "Race, Poverty, and the Corporate Invasion of our Public Schools" at First Parish in Cambridge on May 6! 

A few notes on the House budget

The FY16 Massachusetts House budget was posted yesterday, and it's (mostly) good news:
  • Chapter 70 is fully funded (we'd all hope that the state meets its legal obligation here, but it's good to check). It's also up $2.8M, as they're increasing minimum per pupil increases to $25/pupil.
  • Quality Kindergarten is back! The House has it set at $18,589,713 which is within a dollar of the projected spending (see [on all of these] "Historical Spending" tab) for FY15. That would mean that it's being restored to the level after the midyear cut; it would be helpful to have it all the way back.
  • Governor Baker's proposed grant merger isn't in here! Scroll your way down into the 7010 accounts and following, and you'll see that the Gateway Cities, ELL, literacy and so forth all have funding level restored, and the Partnership Schools Network account is cut by $9.5M. That's not only important to those programs--and thanks to the reps for listening!--but it also questions this centralizing of power at DESE that was clearly being anticipated by the Commissioner and Secretary. 
  • Circuit breaker funding for extraordinary special education spending is up another $8M, getting us closer to full funding (always tricky to declare, since it's a reimbursement based on submitted receipts). 
  • Regional school transportation is up $5M from the Governor's budget.

  • There's also some cuts from the Governor's budget (and if anyone can explain any of these, I'd be interested!): $3,355 from the Secretary's office (which is more than a rounding error, but not enough to do much). $188,245 from DESE as a whole. 
  • $1.7M from a $2.7M budget for School-to-Career Connecting Activities, which has had stable funding at that $2.7M level for a number of years
  • $879,826 from Adult Education, which is about a $30M account; that will knock it down below this year's projected spending
  • Student and School Assessment is brought down to FY14 levels, a cut of $5M statewide.
  • It also zeroes out two lines that were added by the Governor's budget: $500,000 for implementing educator evaluation and $200,000 for School Safety and Supports.
More to come if or when I have it!