Q: I've been told that it's too early to weigh in on the city and schools budget. Is this the case?
No, it is absolutely not the case.
The city departments have had their budget requests in for weeks at this point; the Chapter 70 and local aid numbers are known; the House budget is expected shortly. Anyone who tells you this wants you to wait too long to make any difference.
A reminder: ONLY THE CITY MANAGER can add funds to the budget; the Council can either vote in favor of his recommendation or they can send it back. The Council DOES NOT have the power to reallocate funds within the city budget or to increase its bottom line. Thus, if you want to affect either of those, you need to do so BEFORE the Council gets the budget.
And that means now.
Q: Have the budget cuts changed since the last budget presentation?
No, they have not. Unfortunately.
Q: Why didn't we know this ahead of time?
What we could know ahead of time, we did. If you were around last year, you might remember this:
The structural increase of a bit over 3% generally is covered by the inflation rate and student population increases. Here's what the inflation rate has looked like:
The student population also is not as predicted. Here's our projections, from two sources:
Thus, we were projected--by the people who do this!--to be at either 25,022 or 25,032. But our October 1 enrollment is 24,777. It is our October 1, 2013 number that counts for FY15, and those 245 students make a budgetary difference, particularly when you combine it with the high number of students who are leaving ELL status. That changes their foundation budget number, as well.
So the part that we knew, we knew. The part that we couldn't know, we didn't.
Q: What about administration?
Ah, what about administration?
Worcester Public Schools' administration?
Those are FY12 numbers; I suspect that our current placement wouldn't change much.
Or "administrative spending credited to WPS"?
And how does that compare to other cities?
More questions? Send them along!