Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Now what?

So, last night the Worcester City Council passed the recommended Worcester Public Schools' budget amount for next year. That puts us $1.1 million over required for FY15, but due to the carryover from this year, it is $2.3 million under required spending all together. This will also necessitate budget cuts across the board, from teachers, to clerical staff, to custodians, to administrators. And we're not increasing in a myriad of places we should: we're not buying new textbooks, increasing student supplies, putting the money into facilities maintenance we should, rebuilding or creating programs in gifted & talented, adding the support staff we need, and so forth.
Now what?
The City Council is currently passing the budget in finance committee; they don't have a budget until they pass each account in finance, recess from finance to regular session, and pass the bottom line. I expect that this will happen next week. I don't expect that there will be any changes (most particularly for the schools) during that, however.
As the Worcester School Committee begins budget sessions next Thursday (also at 4), we'll be taking up a budget with those cuts, therefore, and I don't see that we have much of a choice but to make them.
The one thing to keep an eye on is this, as expressed by Councilor Rushton last night:

Keep in mind that when city free cash is certified (after the close of FY14, which happens in July; usually early fall), free cash will include whatever the state has passed or passes for funding for schools for FY14 since the Council passed the budget. The increased charter reimbursement? The McKinney-Vento reimbursement? Those are school allocations sent to the city, but they'll be sitting city accounts until certification. We should at the very least expect to see that money come to the schools, as the state intended.
That won't be probably until after the start of school, so it will probably be too late for teaching staff. For staffing next year, last night's line item is what we live with, I fear.

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