It is once again that time of year to engage in the budget conversation for the Worcester Public Schools. As in past years we are calling on all Parents to attend the City Council’s hearing on the School Budget for next year. It will be on May 28 at 4pm in Council chamber.
We all know how important our local school system is to our children and our community. I would like to think it is possible to someday call the Worcester Public School District the best urban school district in the state. It seems that each year we need to remind our local elected officials of where we place education among our priorities for Worcester. As CPPAC stated in our online petition last year;
“…1996 was the last year that Worcester played a leading role in urban district funding levels. In 1996, the City Council recognized the value of public education and contributed 5.7 percent above the state-mandated minimum to the Worcester Public Schools. Since 1998, the city has consistently contributed less than one percent above minimum (with one exception: 2009, 1.5%) and last year (2012) allocated less than the minimum. In contrast, communities across the state continue to support public school education at an average level of more than 14 percent above minimum, with our peer communities (other urban districts) averaging more than 3 percent above minimum…”
Recently the City Manager has published his budget recommendations for the 2014 school year. Once again we will fall short of the state-mandated minimum. For 2014 the City Manager has proposed a budget that falls more than $400,000 short of the state mandate.(99.9% of the Foundation Budget) For the last three years we have failed to meet the state mandate.
We need to let the City Council and the City Manager know that it is not acceptable that Worcester’s Net School Spending is in the bottom 2% of the state as percentage of foundation budget.
We need to let the City Council and the City Manager know that it is not acceptable that there will be more Elementary classrooms of >27 in FY14 then there was in FY12 or FY13. It is unacceptable that the Student Teacher ratios in the Elementary schools are increasing specifically after all the rhetoric form the City last year that Class size is an important measure of our student opportunity for success.
We need to let the City Council and the City Manager know that it is not acceptable that the City charges the Worcester Public Schools more for administrative services (1.6% of the foundation budget and a 19.5% increase since FY08) then the Worcester Public Schools actual administratively spends on running the schools. The actual Administrative cost on the school side of the budget has only increased by 2.4% since FY08 despite an increase of 5.1% in student population.
We need to let the City Council and the City Manager know that it is not acceptable that the City takes as revenue into the general fund the $3.2 million dollars (1% of the foundation budget) in Medicaid reimbursements that are generated by the services provided by the Worcester Public Schools and is not returned to the Worcester Public Schools.
Please if it is at all possible try to attend the Budget Hearing on Tuesday, May 28th at 4pm at City Hall and directly contact members of the City Council before Tuesday’s meeting to let them know your opinion.
City Council Members can be reached at:
(508) 799-1049 (same phone number for all)
Joseph Petty - Mayor firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Germain - At-Large GermainM@worcesterma.gov
Konstantina Lukes - At-Large LukesK@worcesterma.gov
Joseph O’Brien - At-Large OBrienJC@worcesterma.gov
Frederick Rushton - At-Large RushtonR@worcesterma.gov
Kathleen Toomey - At-Large ToomeyK@worcesterma.gov
Anthony Economou - District 1 EconomouT@worcesterma.gov
Philip Palmieri - District 2 PalmieriP@worcesterma.gov
George Russell - District 3 RussellG@worcesterma.gov
Sarai Rivera - District 4 RiveraSA@worcesterma.gov
William Eddy - District 5 EddyW@worcesterma.gov