Wednesday, March 8, 2017

FY18 Worcester Schools budget at CPPAC

FY18 is being discussed at CPPAC tonight.
Posting as we go. 
Looks like the presentation is this one.

Brian Allen: first look at budget from Governor's budget; school budget (and city budget) come from House budget
school side "not anticipating many changes" from Governor's budget
enrollment changes--"up significantly from last year"--and low inflation factor
certain costs continue to exceed normal inflation (what's normal inflation?)
school resource needs are "significant and urgent but exceed available revenue"
"our challenge for the next six weeks is to essentially prioritize"

"we're a foundation aid community" one of only 92 districts
(growing demographics is rare in the state)
continued low inflation rate
Governor's budget acknowledges health insurance gap (per FBRC) by $66M ('though $16M is state funding)
$935,000 underfunding for Worcester alone in charter school reimbursement and special education circuit breaker projected for this coming year (subsequently: $635,000 of that is charter reimbursement)

have same number of students as we had in 2003, but eight fewer schools to put them in

To a Q about per pupil spending, "Newton is spending that much...because that's what it takes" pointing to the need for overhaul in the foundation budget

ELL students went down in 729 because the state's guidelines changed (and now have changed, somewhat, back)
economically disadvantaged students is up 543
employee benefits up by $1.7M; "but our gap is almost $30M"
inflation factor is only up 1.1%

city's contribution is only going up by $227,515
in total WPS budget revenue going up by $9M...which is almost identical to how much the WPS Ch.70 is increasing by
level service budget goes up by $10.6M or 3.3%

Q as to what the appetite is for increasing taxes at city "so we're funding locally the way that other communities are"
Rosen..."not much appetite for raising taxes" on City Council
Q on city at a dollar value has gone up over the past years
"for the last six years, we were below the foundation level...this is the first year we're above the required level"
most of that is carryover, "so next year, we'll be above for the first time in years

House budget comes out April 12
FY18 WPS budget comes out May 12

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