Thursday, February 6, 2014

FY15 budget questions

posting as we go. All questions answered by Mr. Allen unless otherwise noted
Monfredo: how do Spirit of Knowledge students figure in?
Allen: we worked with DESE to get them counted for this year
adjustment to charter school has happen
grant fee charged by city administration?
Allen: "the city has been willing to listen to the schools"
is not a resolution that this point
"I do suspect that there will be administrative cost on net school spending..current agreement is outdated" based on Board of Ed decision
Superintendent comments that City Manager Augustus have had a number of conversations
resolve over time

educate public at this time
important message tonight for those who care about the schools
"wish I could disagree with Mr. Allen" on sequestration and health insurance
"key budget drivers" are "very accurate"
scope of challenge is "very precise and very well stated"
state is paying 2/3 of costs of education in the city
cherry sheet calculation: drop of nearly $500,000 in school choice revenue
FY14 based on students in FY13
decline of school choice in Worcester
"was a bit of a surprise" loss of about half
Administrative costs of $3.7M on city side in the $7.6M administrative line item from Net School Spending list
Appropriate share of administrative work "person by person review"
declaratory judgement request?

"very sobering report"
"not very surprising in some ways"
need about $11M to maintain level of services
start with $11M deficit when revenue does not keep pace
charter school reimbursement: is this the reduction over time?
represents "less than the full amount":
"only funding 62% of the phase out" of funding
ELL students: are most still in the district? good news for us as they're moving into the district
essentially weren't receiving service anyway "so actually not to our benefit"
"we were at Net School Spending at essentially zero until state disallowed benefits"
"it is a zero sum game for the city"
retirement going up more than previous years? report
sent to joint committee

Biancheria: gone up in Chapter 74
federal grants: are we paying for staff development totally through federal grants?
all have some pocket of staff development
including Level 4 plans
"not all of our staff development is funded through grants"
other budget areas needing funding: is this a "wish list"?
Allen: "I wouldn't label school safety or kindergarten IAs as a wish list"
"when you get funded at foundation level, there are things we can't do. And these are things we can't do in the Worcester Public Schools"
asking for more detail on rest of list
work on school safety and school furniture with community
increase in salaries assumed at 1.5% for all for next year

Ramirez: are we losing those students in ELL?
Rodrigues: as they achieve language literacy, they go up the scale
improved their language

needed broadband is in tech increase
not seeing faciltiies increase, though it's not a year for dreaming
capital budget discussions? Yes, ongoing
concern with Massachusetts falling in progressive education funding
click on Funding Fairness, click on Massachusetts and look at the chart
what can we do productively as a School Committee at this point?
Boone: advocate for items in Governor's budget that would assist us
Allen: inflation factor needs to be tackled long term
national index
"not properly capturing cost increases"

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