Wednesday, May 7, 2014

We have a budget memo!

You can find the budget memo we received from Superintendent Boone yesterday here.
You can find last night's presentation to the City Council by City Manager Augustus here.

So, what's the story?
Bottom line is that the City Manager is recommending a WPS budget line of $305,201,911 to the Worcester City Council.
What that means for our budget is, first, that 15 elementary teaching positions that were up for a cut will not, now, be recommended to be cut. Good news.

Where does that leave the rest of the recommended budget?
As the City Manager said last night, state funding for schools has been growing at $9 to $10 million a year, but it's down to $670,000 in growth for FY15. That doesn't at all realistically represent our children's needs.

First, the bad news:
  • 23 elementary teaching positions cut
  • 24 secondary teaching positions cut
  • 2 central administrators cut
  • 7 central administrative clerical positions cut
  • 11 MCAS tutors cut
  • 5 reading tutors cut
  • 1 credit recovery position cut
  • 3 custodial positions cut
  • 2 secondary school clerical positions cut
  • 3 school-based parent liaison positions cut
...overall there is a reduction of 44 teaching positions from all funding sources. There are 94 positions being reduced in total.

In other news:
19 preschool teaching positions are recommended to be transferred from grant-funded to general fund funded.
We are receiving a recommendation to add (net) 30 Instructional Assistant positions (special education, for the autism program; 55 are being added from now contracted services, 16 current IAs are being converted to teaching positions, and 10 are being transferred from the general fund to grant funded).
We are receiving a recommendation to convert 16 English Language Learning IAs to teaching positions.
We are receiving a recommendation to add 2 school adjustment counselors.
We are receiving a recommendation to add 6 ESL positions.
We are receiving a recommendation to add 2 energy management positions; currently this is privately managed (if I said that was to mixed reviews, I would be overly kind).
Athletics next year is recommended to be level-funded through school choice funds.

The following will be recommended to not be funded in FY15:
Clark Masters' Program
community schools
Future Teachers' Academy
Fast ForWord
Focus on Results
Pinpoint (from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
dual enrollment

(note that much, 'though not all, of the above were funded through Race to the Top funds)

Some more general notes:
This budget is an increase of 0.6% over last year's funding (when all funding is considered).
FY15 will have a nearly 10% reducing in central administrative staff; it will have a 2.2% decrease in teaching positions.
In all areas possible, FY14 open positions have been frozen to save money without laying people off (this doesn't, please realize, change the need for the position that's open),
This budget will see the phasing out of Race to the Top and our first round of School Redesign Grants.
AND--I've said it before, but I'll say it again--all of the above are administrative recommendations for the FY15 budget. There is no Worcester Public Schools budget until a bottom line is passed by the Worcester School Committee on June 19.

FULL BUDGET COMES OUT FRIDAY! And we'll have full details on all of the above then!
as always, much more to come!

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