Thursday, July 14, 2016

Worcester School Committee: Bastille Day edition

probably mostly notes on budget, once they get there.
Oh, hey, I'd missed that this is on here! 
To accept a donation in the amount of $2,500 for student scholarships from the Voya Foundation in recognition of the Worcester Public Schools being the 2016 recipient of the Donald Johnson Operational and Cost Efficiency Award from the Massachusetts Association of School Business Officials. 
 Verdolino (quoting Brian Allen): "we believe that this collaborative budget approach has brought millions of dollars" in cost efficiency
Allen "is an exemplary business official, as I'm sure you all know"
Worcester gave the best testimony to FBRC; hope for a resolution to bring a better resolution for Worcester

On a strategic plan, growing out of report from Research Bureau: Binienda: the suggestion is that we'd have a consultant; community, committee, administration
names Robert Antonucci (former president of Fitchburg State, former Commissioner of Education during ed reform, chair of the committee that was prepared to support the Common Core in the ballot question) who has said that he is interested
next scheduled meeting is on the 23rd from 9-11 at DAB UPDATE: That's August 23
Colorio confirms that the meeting is open to the public
Foley: support idea, support concept
time to create strategic goals for the district, one set of goals for the district moving together one is going to ask what this is going to cost...?
Binienda:(credit where due: she volunteered this) $50,000-$100,000: "people on the committee have signed on to fundraising that"
committee passes unanimously without further questions, asking for updates as needed

Petty: got some bad news, hoped the IAs would be restored, not only here, but across the Commonwealth
21 IA's that won't be in the classroom
remember last year we transferred one person, and we had a roomful of people
"important at that level that we have the right number of instructors in the classroom"
"definitely an educational issue"
"last minute telling people they don't have jobs"
priorities we should look at, both in the Worcester Public Schools, and also make it a priority if there's funding that comes from the city side
if there's free cash, maybe we can designate some of that to the school department
Binienda: quite surprised what happened with budget
also lost $750,000 in Title I
$72,000 in Title II
also have nine teachers worth of classrooms where we have kids but no classrooms for them to go in
"there wasn't any way that we could make that up"
only thing we could see "if we cut summer school for next year"
"there wasn't any other way of looking at it that we could see any money"
Petty: how many in summer school? in general?
Rodrigues: about ten percent of our students, about 1400 student right now
Petty: maybe we can look at it over the next month, "that is not a good solution"
"net loss" of about $1.1 million, to bring us back to even?
Allen: just as a result of the state budget, it would be the loss of kindergarten grant, the loss of the charter reimbursment, and the restore of the secondary, it's $1.5M
plus $750,000 loss in Title I that we learned on Friday
Petty: so we're at $2.5M?
can you elaborate on charter schools?
Allen: annually, through whatever happens in House and Senate version, there's an adjustment that comes back to us, set aside $350,000
once again, it's almost $400,000 that we're short in reimbursement
good thing we set aside or we'd be that short
were anticipating a loss in Title I, budget set for level funding
estimate originally did not include homeless students and such
"when the final number came out, it was significant"
Petty: most districts similar to Worcester, "promises made not kept, especially on charter schools"
requests a report on making up the $2.5M shortfall
"we just went through this budget line by line"
"to go find places to make up $2.5 million, it's very hard"
make it a priority city side
Colorio: find it alarming that 10% of our population attends summer school
"is ten percent considered the norm with districts our side and with our demographics?"
asks for a report "look at it as a trend" if it's a high number attending "or not"
Allen: "we've lost a lot of money in that same ten year period"
"there's a correlation of level of funding and level of services"
can't offer same level of services
Colorio: what do we do with the students we can't service?
Binienda: not really that they stayed back, but they have to repeat those classes in the following year
Monfredo: summer school, "that would be devastating, a step backwards"
"we should expand summer school, but we can't" as we don't have the money
like to send a letter to the Governor and the delegation to see if there is anything that can be done
Worcester funded at 1% over foundation
"this is where the achievement gap starts"
IA's essential, especially at the kindergarten
"blow to early educational needs"
O'Connell: make a motion requesting city council and city manager consider funds enough to maintain IA's lost to kindergarten grant
and a motion for a report on funds found to maintain positions, and/or further services
with legislature: two schools of thought: funds for all schools with regard to need, plus grants for particular areas of need: "this year we have neither"
"major impact on communities that most desperately need" services
Foley: summer school, slightly less than 6%
given the background and struggles that our students have "encouraged" that so many attend summer school
"what I heard the Mayor say tonight is you're going to be working with Council and the Manager to identify additional cash"
all support going to Council, "I'm not sure our vote accomplishes that"
coming late to their budget process as well
take some of those dollars (from those set aside), perhaps some costs that we can put off for a year
"we should be careful about those short term fixes"
"this is a great summary of what we're facing right now, but perhaps a one page" that we can use with our delegation, as well as our City Council
"we shouldn't have to be doing that" (setting aside funds on charter shortfall) but we know we have to
Biancheria: when we talk about summer programs, we have to include that some of those costs are grants
"when we talk about solutions...when I sit here, the thought I have is where is our state delegation?"
Governor is signing off on different ideas, but delegation "needs to know what's going to hit the Worcester Public Schools"
hope that every single one of them will respond on why we're in the situation we're in
O'Connell: take a very firm, very assertive stand tonight
send a letter to the City Manager, to the Council, to the delegation

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