Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Worcester Public Schools budget back at Council : posting as we go

Petty: "maybe our final night on the schools budget"
Dawn Johnson: "my voice is the voice of parents who are maybe too busy to follow the budget"
"I know that I've made a difference in the life of a Worcester public schools student"
"tired and aggravated that once again we need to beg for money to try to provide an education"
$80 below the state average on administrative expensive (in house)
charges from city to schools for administrative costs
"and while we're talking about $3 million, that's how much money the city gets for services the Worcester Public Schools provide...why do we even bother filling out the paperwork?"
$5.53/$1000 of taxes goes to the Worcester Public Schools
"I want the Worcester Public Schools to be everyone's school of choice"
bottom 2% of net school spending across the state: "Shame on us"

Item from City Manager O'Brien:
"been active in conversation with me since last week"
"little room for opportunity"
desire to narrow the gap: right now it's about $430,000
"within the 2014, we do expect...debate between House and Senate...McKinney-Vento reimbursement"
"have used House version, lower reimbursement: estimated $253,000"
money transferred once it comes in
assuming the money comes in, that would leave a gap of $172,000
Commit to work to fill gap from free cash
"to have us at zero, once we have that number hard and fast"

Motion from Eddy: Request the City Manager appropriate $173,000 out of free cash to address the spending gap

That would bring it to hundred percent

Rushton stands to ask if there has been any response from DESE on OPEB; he is making a motion to hold the entire city budget until there is some response regarding OPEB.

Rob Cohane: "very encouraged and grateful to Council"
would like to set some goals for where we can go as a city
commitment to future of achieving 111% in FY18

O'Brien: talks about four schools passed by MSBA last week
more schools happening over time
balancing that with operational needs
commitment to address school funding issues

Lukes: understand needs of school department
"if the public were listening to this they would be misled"
says 22% of city budget goes to city services (only if you count chapter 70, of course)
OPEB: "That spells the word crisis"
"when we talk about free cash, and we're only talking about pennies on the dollar, but that's all we've got"
cannot in good conscience not pay anything into OPEB
"don't want the public to get the impression that we have access to a fund of money that we are not sharing with the schools"
asks when city will find out when free cash is: Zidelis says seven to ten days
supports Rushton's motion to hold

Petty: OPEB requirement down "and we haven't even contributed a dime"

Toomey: realities of position we're in
chapter 70 reform needed "pretty much since they wrote it"
communities getting money who don't need it
evacuation now happening due to Claremont graduation: Petty, Rivera out
"would like to not have to go through this next year"

Lukes: any further discussion: motion to approve as amended

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