Friday, August 26, 2016

Kindergarten aides are saved! (But pay attention to the details)

I keep telling you that finance departments are crucial...
Brian Allen, chief financial and operations officer for the Worcester schools, said health insurance savings following the city’s open enrollment period, as well as special education cost reductions created through in-sourcing services, have helped cover about half of the roughly $750,000 cost of retaining the positions. Financial staff will comb the budget for additional savings, such as through deferred spending or position attrition, to pay for the aides for the entire year, he said.
"about half"
It isn't all there yet, so pay attention to that.

On the other hand, the schools aren't going to be as short as they were going to be on kindergarten aides, which is excellent news, as is the saving of four of the secondary positions (that's also part of an answer to two of the outstanding questions).

Because this has now happened in Lowell and Fitchburg, as well as Worcester, I suspect the lesson being drawn some places on Beacon Hill is "well, see? They didn't need it anyway."
Instead, the question should be "What are they NOT doing to save this?" In every community, there are sacrifices of other things being made in order to make this choice. That shows how important early education is, but it doesn't mean the things sacrificed aren't important. I hope to hear the "what did we lose to do this?" question asked.
And yes, this has everything to do with the foundation budget needing reconsideration.

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