Friday, July 12, 2013

Extensive update from Finance and Operations today

You can find this Friday's letter from Superintendent Boone here; most of it is an extensive update from Mr. Allen regarding Finance and Operations.

  • Not great news on the budget (that Governor Patrick signed today): due to the way that the charter assessments shake out, we've got $265,984 to make up in FY14. Expect an "adjustment" (that's a cut that'll go to Worcester's charter schools) sometime this fall.Not in the memo, but on the good news front: the state budget took the Senate's number for McKinney-Vento reimbursement, which was the higher of the two. As the city has now recognized this as a reimbursement for a service provided by the Worcester Public Schools, but used the House number to do so, we have a conversation to have with Council.
  • We don't know about federal grants yet, but we will later this month.
  • We'll be leasing four classrooms from the YMCA this fall for Chandler Magnet students; no word on which classes yet.
  • The city is transferring 6 Claremont Street (a tax-title property) to the Worcester Public Schools for Woodland/Claremont use. The plan is to use the current (Woodland Street) parking lot as a playground (Woodland only has a teensy paved spot to play on now) and move staff parking to the 6 Claremont lot.Super cool that the city administration is seeing kids having space to play as a worthy use of space!
  • Kindergarten is nearly at what we projected already (and there are always more who register as it gets closer to the fall), so it looks as though most of those reserved six teachers are going to be teaching kindergarten.
  • On facilities, apparently MSBA is SO successful that we're now backing up window manufacturing! Jacob Hiatt is on track to get their boiler this summer. Caradonio New Citizens is also on track to get their boiler, and should have their windows by fall; if they don't, they'll be finished over weekends. May Street and Lake View are going to have their exterior windows done this summer, all others done this fall over weekends (May Street's gym will get done this summer). Chandler Magnet is having all exterior doors and windows done this summer, which is a surprise: it's a big enough building where it was projected to take two summers! Note that all of the above is MSBA reimbursed work. Vernon Hill's exterior masonry is getting fixed this summer (no more scaffolding!). Heard Street's roof is contracted out, and it is hoped that it will be done this summer. And finally, Worcester East Middle's science labs (at a base level; no reworking of gas or water lines or any other rooms) is being contracted out to be done for next year! In response to a reader question: Yes, we're still on track for Columbus Park, Tatnuck Magnet, Worcester Arts Magnet, and Worcester East Middle work, but those projects were just approved on June 5. That work would be for next (we hope!) summer.
And finally, I'm just going to quote Mr. Allen's final paragraph:

Jack Navin, the district’s Coordinator of Maintenance and Custodial Services and Robert Alvarado, the district’s Working Foreman, both recently retired after a combined 80 years of dedicated service to the Worcester Public Schools. In addition to their “normal” workday, both Jack and Bobby have been critical members that worked tirelessly through hurricanes, blizzards, fires at schools, and other events. Their dedication and support of school operations were certainly second to none, and the combined loss of institutional knowledge will be difficult to replace.

To which I can only add, they will both be missed.

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