Friday, July 17, 2009

Budget correction

As mentioned yesterday, there was a $4 million decrease in the FY10 WPS budget due to the corresponding decrease in the state budget. Here's a bit more on that, from the text of the recommendation to the School Committee for yesterday's meeting:
  • The inflation factor (which is part of calculating the foundation budget, and thus everyone's contribution) is 3.04, as compared to 4.5 in the House and Governor's budget. This one reduction (this is pretty amazing, really) costs Worcester Public Schools $3.6 million.
  • Charter school reimbursement is 90% this year, which costs WPS $285, 155.
  • The City of Worcester, as we all already know too well, took a substantial hit in local aid from the state. That reduction in local aid translates to a reduction in the city's required contribution to the schools under the foundation formula. In this case, that loss is $117, 258 (that's a bit more than two teachers)
  • Every district's aid is down by 2% from last year, but stimulus funding saves us there.
This gives us the $4,012,292 figure I cited yesterday. That's 57 teachers we'd lose (and that's on top of the 225 teachers saved this year, and only this year, because of federal stimulus funding).
However, it's stimulus money to the rescue again here; here's how the money will be made up (you'll want to keep in mind here that there is separate stimulus money for special ed (which is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, thus IDEA) and for Title 1 (children who are poor, which includes all schools in Worcester but 3).
Here's how the money gets reallocated:

Instructional Assistants 850,000 from IDEA stimulus
Instructional Assistants 500,000 from Title 1 stimulus
Bus Monitors 100,000 from IDEA stimulus
Community Schools 206,574 from Title 1 stimulus
Special Ed Bus Drivers 199,015 from IDEA stimulus
Parent Liasons 162,671 from Title 1 stimulus
Math & English tutors 165,840 from Title 1 stimulus
Retirement 350,000 from IDEA stimulus
Health Insurance 795,140 from the regular stimulus funds
Health Insurancce 543,552 from IDEA stimulus
Personal Services 89,500 from IDEA stimulus
Staff Development 50,000 from Title 1 stimulus

So, how does that work?
The IDEA stimulus is picking up a lot of the cost of special education to the Worcester Public Schools (including teachers, bus drivers, and so forth). Each district is federally required to fund a portion of special ed themselves, so we're keeping our end up, while taking what we can here, so we don't have to cut elsewhere.
The Title 1 stimulus is funding Kindergarten Assistants, other aides, and parent liaisons at Title 1 schools. Those aides will reduced adult/child ratios in those schools. It will be used to fund community schools at four schools. It will also fund one English Language Learner position (hooray for that!).

Okay, so it looked like a looming, $4 million dollar hole, but whew! A save! Right?


This is the FY10 budget. You will note that the word "stimulus" is used a great deal above. And what happens next year? Very little stimulus. The project budget deficit right now is $26 million, based on the state having no regular stimulus to give us (they spent it already) and not fully funding foundation (like this year).
We have to start paying attention to this now, or we stand to lose 400 teachers.

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