Monday, December 12, 2016

Worcester School Committee Finance and Operations

agenda is here 
MSBA spending: total of $43M in spending
Allen: balance of $3M annual allocation this past year to fix HVAC for Jacob Hiatt which had failed
Foley: money going to windows "and the reasons behind that" but the windows were also in terrible shape
Allen: pretty good results
ESCo plus MSBA plus environmental mitigation
windows "at twenty cents on the dollar, we're going to take advantage of that"

"so far we've had all of our projects accepted for accelerated repair"
Foley: had been "putting very little money back into our buildings"
Allen: city and schools have entered an agreement for a facilities master plan
should be back in a year
contract is awarded, some work has happened, bulk of work in the spring
Colorio: eighty percent funded by state? Yes
does state come out and sign off on it when it's happening?
Allen: state assigns an owner's project manager; "they're doing the due diligence"
only 2012 fully completed; even 2013 still be reconciled
Colorio: how many projects submitted
Allen: 17 accepted and completed to date
4 more pending for next year
new window opens for next round opens sometime in January
Colorio: how many being submitted?
Allen: four is a good number with the $3M from the city

Foley: any dollars not expended by the Worcester Public Schools goes back to the city
"a whole dollar" this year went back
work of finance office "highly regarded in region"
really is as adopted; adjustments during the year
athletic ordinary maintenance and school adjustment
Allen: not use school choice money for athletics, used for textbooks, as a timing issue
"done as an accounting way to make it easier for the administration"
charter school adjustment in textbook account
"intention is to account for the final charter school tuition assessment" for the final numbers that come out in July
$350K sent aside it was $501K
"higher than the assessment...we had to reduce the budget by $500,000"
"this year, something very similar occurred"
McCullough: day-to-day subs?
Allen: "this is one of the accounts that we typically underbudget"
adopted budget as it compares to end of year

FY17 and report here
Foley: "slightly more than 20% of our expenditures"
still fairly early
critical: had to fund our instructional assistants ourselves
grant cut by state, district put back in
Allen: first quarter report is just showing of trends...later meeting "it's a little closer to our second quarter report"
usually use second quarter to make decisions on how to bring budget in balance
most of the gap is due to Quality Kindergarten grant
work with City Manager and "hope to provide funding through the tax" process
"getting close" to needing to see
would anticipate that city would provide $350,000, about half what's needed
"realistically, looking at $400K" for second quarter
put all factors together for transfers and budget actions
IA's a large deficit
increase in high cost students in special education; circuit breaker "but that doesn't kick in until next year"
in order for extraordinary support to kick in this year, have to see a 25% increase (in full account) in a single year "which is nearly impossible for us"
ABA brought back in house: home based services
continue to have to send out additional routes to Durham because of the condition of our buses
in process of awarding a lease for 10 buses; hope to award by end of February
"that will replace about a quarter of our buses"
working with city on additional capital funding to update buses (as actually needed)
surplus in instructional materials includes $10/pupil: still frozen as yet; decision second quarter
about $130,000 savings through use of solar panels through summer; $80,000 so far this year
"could go good or bad for us" depending on the winter
Foley: much good work from joint committee program with city council
seems to be clean
Colorio: where is additional spending in special education?
Allen: students who we didn't know were our fiscal responsibility when we prepared the budget
Colorio: is there a process in place to hire more in house services?
Allen: autism services back in house
"in instances where we can't provide the services ourselves"
first look to collaboratives (our own or others) then other placements
recognized as having very low out of district placements
Foley: going back ten years or more; greater inclusion to our students
"moves that we've made have helped curtail these costs"
"goes back to the foundation budget discussion we've had"
Allen: expansion of space in new buildings for special education programs
Colorio: is there a trend in what services we're providing?
something we may need to offer in the future?
Allen: I don't know, but we can ask special education
Colorio: question on overtime
Allen notes it has to do with snow removal timing (along with others)

item on warrants with legal opinion from Mr. Moore
Foley: charge was to talk to the state for what this means for us
go to city charter for authority
"really supercedes state decision"
"really not relevant for us on the school committee"
Allen: "this is an item that has come up a couple of times in my tenure"
two different EQA audits "had an informal legal opinion" from law department at that time
"really the immediate thought from adminstration...why don't we just ask David Moore to update that"
"even though the item dates back twenty years"
"isn't really based on size, based on charter"
"views school department as a department of the city as it does with other things...that the city solicitor interprets the city charter" as auditor
"relying on the city council hires city auditor to provide that check and counter check"
funds, accepted, adopted, and appropriated
Foley: really set that the policy for what's appropriated

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