Wednesday, May 27, 2015

WPS FY16 public hearing on the budget: UDPATED with slide screenshots

posting as we go (Note that the meeting is now online)
Economou: one of the things I ran on was trying to find a better working relationship between schools and Council
"it's starting to show the fruits of our efforts"
cut in fee on grants from city
"more pro-active working relationship"
"as we do progress forward as a group...a better working relationship between City Hall and here at the School Department"
think foundation budget needs to be changed; "when it came on, it came on outdated"
Foley: two items on the school side
one to consider items of joint interest, but also to consider the city's contribution for FY16 and years following
working relationship: "Great meeting yesterday"
"very positive, very collegial"
"what I heard yesterday was really about one city"
continuing to move the city forward positively
Councilors were talking about the need for students support
later in timeline than in past years
city has approved bottom line; committee has not reviewed ours yet

(Note that you can find Mr. Allen's presentation online here)

Allen: FY15 current number: still in deficit by $3M
additional amount each year is decreasing, thus amount is cummulative
and there's a slide here that I really need to get; update with a screenshot (though the colors came out weird; the colors were nicer than this):

regarding transportation review: $1M identified if 7-12 transportation eliminated; would also reconstruct exisiting routing scheme, the sixth grade programs at the middle schools; all city-wide transportation to Worcester Tech, Goddard Scholars, Burncoat Arts Quadrant, alternative programs
plus all transportation to all students outside of 2 miles (much, for example, of South High's student enrollment)
"We are not recommending a switch to a different method of packaging to and from school routes."
(SBC report of January 2015)

enrollment:only in last three years does enrollment exceed that of 2004-05, which is when the first of eight schools were closed:

Note: the above is changes each year compared to 2004-05. The year-by-year changes look like this:

497 student increase; excluding preschool swing, nearly 700 students up
inflation factor: previous to five years ago, rate was closer to 3% change of actual budget

assumption in the foundation budget is that it will pay for contractual changes going forward
enrollment changes assumed to pay for needs of student populations that change
inflation factor "really putting a strain on the budget"
foundation budget going up by $14.6, driven by inflation ($4.7M), enrollment change ($5M), demographic change ($4.9M)

FY16 budget $318,793,113
majority of which is state aid
$300K is up and above the minimum
$723,062 going to transportation
budget is based upon $318M

total city budget is $598M
chapter 70 aid is $234M
city budget without state aid is $364M
of that $252M is city budget
$104M goes to WPS
$8M goes to charter schools

of residential tax rate of $20.07, $5.71 goes to WPS

elementary class size: if you simply phase out grade 6 and phase in projected K, increase projected of 579 students
for next year: elementary class size of (average) 22; 48 classes of 27-30 classes, citywide

plus all of this

outstanding budget challenges:
space for enrollment changes and deal with class size
no additional secondary electives (or their textbooks)
school adjustment counselors
capital equipment: "the $500,000 earmark we have for capital equipment simply isn't enough": turnover on buses, in particular is a concern
cost centers continue to exceed inflation
state budget: kindergarten grant, charter reimbursement still outstanding

Toomey: what school choice students? (you can look at page 84 for this answer)
what number are special needs? what are ELL?
"I know folks have wanted their kids in" the schools
possible to get a report?
regarding the books: focusing just on books? not online
Allen: math books on an annual repleshment cycle: hardcover book, plus consumables, plus online resources
Rodrigues: combination of manipulatives and durables
Toomey: cost savings due to hardcover?
Allen: in theory it's a savings compared to traditional way of getting supplies
Toomey: are we using online materials to the best of our ability?
Rodrigues: professional development for using online resources
Toomey: how are Caradonio Center program updated?
Rodrigues: curriculum renewal cycle for all students
at Caradonio, not only content, but supplies and teaching that goes on is language aquisition and content
program is infused with language acquisition as well content

Rosen: still love this stuff
"there's a lot of good news is important to the whole helpful it is to everything else that goes on"
commend good work that goes on
"pretty proud yesterday of the meeting we positive"
"so glad to be there, so happy to talk about the changes in the schools"
asks if students are still put in back of class
Boone: no, don't do double duty in classroom
too many students who have more than one study hall in their schedule
Rosen: transportation: "we had to get students to school"
issue with chronic absenteeism: showing some of the things the schools are doing
"saving money, but not educating them, is not what our mission is"
Boone: programs that are drawing interest from many places are exactly the programs that would be eliminated were we to eliminate 7-12 transportation
"more than just dollars back into the books, but what do we do to those programs for that strong portfolio of options"
textbooks: 20 years and older
Allen: now five years from any major changes in major investment in the secondary schools

Economou: glad to see collaboration
"when parents ask me what I think of Forest Grove or Doherty, it's all good"
"we're going to do all we can with the resources available"

Foley: nice to have a budget where we're looking at an increase of teachers coming in
comment on transportation: "it's much more complex than that"
"significant choices to be made...[budget] is hundreds of choices to be made"
funding lags enrollment by one year: additional 600 students educated on existing dollars

Ramirez: thrilled to see a budget that doesn't require cutting teachers like last year
as we talk about transportation, remember the horrible weather: think of what it would be like for a young person to have to walk more
decisions made thoughtfully and carefully "and they're not quick"
"making those decisions with a wealth of information"
plans for the future

Novick: motion to letter to delegation to fund House number on kindergarten grant and fund charter reimbursement as much as possible (passes)
reference to capital budget to joint committee (to point that $500K is entirely inadequate and needs to be updated)
updated administration agreement? Allen: should be done by the end of the summer
update going to School Committee as well as to joint committee

Zalauskas: EAW president:
special recognition to city to try to close the gap
"I don't think it's adequate still...still a problem we face"
Lukes last night at meeting "she got it"
how much it takes to educate the student population when 6 or 700 students are dropped on your lap
checking enrollment more than once a year
"we need 4 or 5 millon dollars more from the cityside"
bothered by having police officers paid for by school budget: should be paid for by city, a city service
have community policing
"I know you're going to say 'he's pie in the sky again' but I mean it and I'm right"
"we need help, and other Gateway cities are facing the same thing"
poverty is the issue
"we have always had the can-do attitude and that's the attitude we have to have every day"
"I don't pretend to know all the numbers, but I know that we're woefully underfunded"

Foley agrees that having the state take a look at the foundation budget review commission is our best hope
tens of millions of dollars that would be generated
hope city would see need to at least incrementally change

Steve Power, teacher WPS: thank those who worked to increase the school budget
put a face on what happens when we face cutbacks: class of 36 and 31 students
"this is an almost impossible teaching situation"
in some case a three grade difference in their abilities
students who needed much more individual attention than I was able to give
"having larger classes there...students who really need more services...hurts me as a teacher to see that"
"would rather have an honors class" of that size
"very good support from the administration of the school"
"hope that going forward we can try to mitigate the effects of any decrease in the budget so these situations don't happen"
glad to hear schools thinking about mindfulness in general
bring attention to recycling program: "highly suspect that recyling is going on in the schools"
should be looked at

Monfredo: grant change?
to 2.5%
Foley: generate $165,000 back to grants

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