Thursday, February 4, 2016

Worcester Public Schools preliminary budget projections (from House 2)

And hey! The presentation is posted already!
Rodrigues: preliminary results of what we know about the FY17 budget since the Governor released it last week
met with every principal on what is needed for the FY17 budget

Allen: release of Governor's budget kicks off formal presentations to the School Committee
based on our early estimates of what we see as revenues to the school district
"what we're not going to present today is a deficit number...still a lot of work to be done"
"we can't sit here and say that there's going to be a $5 million or whatever" deficit at this time

negative inflation factor and flat enrollment, biggest challenge for this year
change to ch 70 law on capturing low income students: one time change in funding
continue to see certain cost centers exceed inflation rates
changes in Quality K and charter school reimbursements could be concerning and result in loss of funds

61% of WPS budget from state; 28% from local; remainder from federal
"as goes the state budget, so goes our budget"

DESE estimating based on level funding, between 70 and 72% for circuit breaker; a loss for WPS

slight decrease on enrollment from last year, under a 1% change
overall increase over last five and eight years; still above 2003 level (when schools closed)

breakdown changes: most of decline is at preK level "occurring across the state" (134 students in preK, down)
remainder is, "given overall enrollment, slight changes"

overall foundation budget is $332M

largest changes is ELL: 616 students up :$5.5M
economically disadvantage: down 3575 (due to change in calculation): $3.1
"that's a one time adjustment" and foundation would be flat otherwise

second time ever in the 22 years of the foundation budget; last time was 2011 when it was -2.2%
this year is -0.22
"each change is $3.3M for us"
"doesn't seem to be the right factor" on inflation

Petty has asked the City Manager to commit to (essentially) level funding city contribution (which otherwise would be reduced by $676,570)
based only on Governor's budget, budget would be up only $3.3M
last year budget increased by $14M

Quality K, districts can apply for up to $350
would be "a reduction of $450,000 in our funding" beyond cuts that have already happened

suggestion to revise charter budget: has never been fully funded
100/50/25, but would only quality for second year if at charter school cap "and we are not at the charter school cap"
"and you'd have to apply for them"
"we believe that this change would be a detriment to the Worcester Public Schools"

Initial cost estimates:
salaries: $4.7M
health insurance (7.5%): $3.3
"our increase in health insurance ALONE is the total increase in our budget"
tutition: $1M
retirement: $900K
transportation: $600K
other areas: $500K
total of $11M, about a normal year increase

from meetings with building principals:
for class size need for 34 more teachers in elementary $2.5M
for middle $200K
for high $1.6M
specialists $2.8M
sped $1.5M
ESL $2.1
support $1M
total of additional $11.7M for 172 positions

principals also called out needs in
Professional learning $500K
$1M in textbooks (which seems low)
instructional materials $500K
student furnitures $800K

adding it all of $22M
"that's not a deficit number; that's just a gap that we need to close"

NOT YET INCLUDED: anything on the safety advisory committee, nor on the advanced high school academy

health insurance: non reps already have changed contributions; discussion of unions doing same
bringing up internal capacity (as has been done for autism, energy management)
energy savings: 10 schools that either have solar arrays or wind turbines
rental costs: what's the best way to use existing space that can save money in the long run
student transportation: spent a year working with School Bus Consultants, "essentially came back and said that they didn't have any changes to suggest" without a drop in student services

"being that third largest employer, we're larger than most of the higher education and health insurance agencies in the city"

district review of resource allocation: what has to be done, what can be reallocated, what will need to be reduced
budget recommendations with the seven point plan

How would Worcester spend it?
I'm just going to stick a screenshot of this in

note that these would meet the current formula in those areas; this is how much the WPS budget is short in these budgetary categories
what should be done now on FBRC?
Inflation: would be $9M for Worcester next year
ELL change: would be $5M for Worcester next year

Things to watch:
Title I could go down by $1M due to census numbers (district is challenging)
Quality K formula change
new guidelines coming for FY18 in count of ELL students

Budget goes to school committee on May 13

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