Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Councilors on the auditor's report

Mayor Petty
thanks auditor
"we have a strong partnership between school and city side...fighting for same dollar...nice meeting with the Superintendent and the Manager last week...now everyone knows what we're talking about"

good starting point: conversation going back and forth
"a lot of issues that have to be addressed: police class"
suggests looking at the technology plan either this fiscal year or next fiscal year
meeting tomorrow of the subcommittees
Thanks the City Manager, Tom Zidelis, Brian Allen

invites people to the meeting at 11 am tomorrow at DAB
"okay to be passionate about public issues...have best interest of city at heart..."
concerned that "we didn't have the clarity we needed for our requirements under Ed Reform
hoping tonight or in the next week for some recommendations about how we might make some further progress towards that $800,000 or so"
"education has got to be our top priority"
home values
business owners
"all have a stake in it"
"what's the right place to be...would recommend...come up with a plan...that addresses capital needs, technology needs, operational needs"
other resources
plan for funding, plan for operations
"should try to wrestle over the next" few months
"one we can all agree on"
thanks Council
incredible capital needs, mentions high schools, physical needs
"over a dozen schools have gotten renovations"
"lot of smart things have been done"
concrete plan: road map going forward
hope tomorrow's conversation is the first of many
"I have some questions, I have some concerns..."
"the state requires us to spend $88million....
$10.6 above what the state required....math gets fuzzy from there...then some of it is operational and some of it is not operational"
"that's not good, that's not good, the bottom line is that's not good"
city administration: "what is that?"
excellent question!
DelSignore lists auditor, treasurer, IT, etc (it's
City services in the city budget that are estimated by people in the administration
Transportation: "over $15 million...just over $13 million"
asks if that's an area that we should look at: if it had gone up by that much
Much is mandated
DelSignore speaks of other audits that tried to get around laws or avoid them
Springfield put some transportation on Pioneer Valley
thinks since city is paying for those things "if you're going to have an operational audit, those are the places to have them"
Germain speaks of other modes of transportation, other vehicles, gas prices
"Those are the things an audit has to look at"
"maximize those dollars into the classroom"
Petty mentions proceeding with audit during subcommittee tomorrow
"only guy who understood the chapter 70 funding formula was the guy who made up the formula"
"best at the best cost"
five year contract with Durham
"transportation costs are horrific"
regional school systems being crippled by transportation costs
on school committee prior to Ed Reform
"seems to be the same bottom line, as a matter of fact"
hope ed committee will take them up
"why is water and sewer an estimate?"
Hey, I asked that question!
"going to be affecting the bottom line, that's what we're going to get now"
Lukes: "how much higher should it be?"
"why do the taxpayers have to pay to learn yoga?"
No, that would ESL, and citizenship...
"should be sustaining itself"
"either people are going to enroll, or they're not going to enroll"
Where do capital needs and the costs for borrowing come into this?
Paid for out of capital funds: outside of general fund
"we have to pay for those loans"
DelSignore thinks all such funds should come from the state
Lukes: roll over prior year expenses
"a lot of those bills are estimates...we don't let them spend it...it reverts to general funds..."
OPEB: how does it play into this formula?
city is allowed to include in classroom expeditures...does it count? DelSignore says yes
That's not what DESE found, acutally
He just said that WPS had $70 million in grants
which is WRONG: it's $40 million
Actually all of these last numbers are wrong: total budget is $330 million for WPS
Eddy: I'll be brief
"bottom year is we sit here and budget...every year we ask 'where are we on class size?'"
"we need to do better on class size..."
Agreed: note that this will include an enormous increase in capital spending REALLY SOON
"agree we underfund the public schools; where does it come from?"
"avoid the us and them"
"underfunding...just as we're underfunding the police department"
"incrementally address these issues"
Why is it not in the foundation budget?
it's explicitly excluded in chapter 70
determined by Education Reform Act
people keep referring to $10 million over
are we over?
"it's not to imply that the city contributed $10.6 over...it took me the better part of three days to grasp this"
$800,000 below the legally required limit
rules are the same for every city and town across the state?
Don't ask me how local aid is determined
Wait, which kind? That's not hard for ch. 70, either
"Chapter 70 helps the city...Springfield is still not filling police and fire and we are, so..."
O'Brien: driven by mandates: special education transportation required by law
"there are two basic categories that we have to address: minimal contribution and net school spending"
"we're $10.6 million above the minimum contribution formula...how it's appropriated within the public schools of school spending and non-school spending"
driven by mandates
"from a funding perspective we're $10.6 million"
"when I look at the Gateway Cities...25 communities that are below NSS"
Hey, let's look at the chart! That's from FY12; FY13 numbers are not yet publicly available.

Rivera asks where the administration money goes
is this an estimate?
There's an agreement with the city: because the city budget is 54% of the city budget, the city charges 54% of those costs to WPS. Which he is not explaning.
cites 1994 budget override
I graduated from college in 1994...
Russell: does it cost the city $400m to run the schools?
how much per student we spend on average...when we did the rough math, we came up with $16,000 per pupil

asks for a report
sent to committee

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