Thursday, June 15, 2017

Worcester School Committee on FY18 (round two)

Round one notes are here; the sequence of accounts are here; the budget is here. They'll be picking up with special education tuition at $18.6M.
Mayor says they're picking back up with personal services

O'Connell: how much are we being charged for city solicitor services?
Allen: nothing
legal services for the city solicitor's office have not been part of the municipal agreement for net school spending
O'Connell: suggest that some of "low level" legal services be done through the city solicitor's office, charged back to WPS as an indirect cost: motion to discuss with city manager
motion to take $30,000 out of that account
Monfredo: "I have to concur with my colleague...we have to keep an eye on this item because it's continuing to grow"
Foley: would be against that motion and think that we'll still end up needing to find these dollars at the end of the day
motion passes, 4-3 (Foley, McCullough, Petty opposed)
O'Connell: have a motion later for allocation
Petty planning to make a motion to send $25,000 to Worcester Tech for Skills USA; O'Connell motion to send $5000 to the crew team
Biancheria: concern with the legal portion of this; "when I've listened to City Councilors...they've looked for better consolidation"
expanded into actually 20 years ago we did have attorneys that were specific to the school department
"have spent consistently more than we have placed in that budget"
graduation expenses...asked to see a detail of the costs which is a report that is on the regular agenda tonight
Biancheria asking about employee assistance program: how do they know; suggests frequent reminders of the availability of the program
Monfredo: on staff development: can we cut that?
Binienda: for the number of employees we have, this is too little
looking at other urban districts, you'll see their budgets are much larger
training of principals, liaisons, instructional coaches; outside speakers
Foley: clarification on Biancheria's motion; two members of city legal department working for schools, are those new positions?
Petty: thought it was talking with the manager moving forward, not for this budget
account passes

Special education tutition: $18.6M plus another $3M in grants
Colorio: do we still support Quinsig Gateway program?
Binienda: do send some students to it, but we were losing funding for WPS as Quinsig could claim them as their students
working to keep students in the WPS
Allen: paying a school choice rate to students choicing out; no longer paying Quinsig
this makes no sense to me,
Modified school choice rate; 80% of the per pupil rate
last time we paid it was " 13 or 15...something in that range"
Colorio $54K for Rockdale?
Allen: roughly five student tuitions to attend the recovery high school
Binienda: city manager has helped out with the gas for the vans
Biancheria: alternative programs; no detail for what is compiled under the alternative programs
if you add the dollar amounts in the paragraph, you get the total
which is what Mr. Allen now is saying
O'Connell: current placements changes?
Allen: have project to the best of our ability where the placements will be
most of the increases are associated with an already-approved collaborative budget
plus increase in placements current year that hadn't been known last year at budget time
"it would be unknown students to the district that would move in over the summer" that could increase costs
O'Connell suggests expanding in-district programs to cut tuition costs which is something that WPS has done before
Seale says it's ongoing; IEPs have to be met regardless
"Young Voices" program is being moved to Nelson Place
"look at students with needs as need for services, not a program"
"have a much better learning environment for our students" now in the collaborative
looking at who those students are (who are younger), going through the IEP process with the families, and seeing if their needs can be met in the district
account passes

suspension of rules to allow Roger Nugent, EAW president to speak
symbolic check for $500,000(?) which Nugent says represents out of pocket costs

Printing and Postage $256,654
Colorio: a little miffed to see increase in printing and postage area
"is there a plan in place to go green or somewhat green?"
Allen: still required documentation being mailed home or other places
increase in postage is attendance awareness, which the district is undertaking
increase in $20K for postage for "attendance awareness" reports being mailed home all 2ndry students every five weeks
based on gas reports that are comparing attendance of student and school
"really good visual for all students to know"
Colorio: I really hate seeing those electric reports come through, because I'm always the highest
"I'm not sure that's the right approach"
would like to see report
Binienda: already started using it, went home with last progress report
they'll be used in school, every five weeks, everything will stop, kids will look at their reports, write goals
and they aren't translated
"that's going to be part of an accountability number, and some of that is going to be part of chronic absenteeism"
"your child is approaching chronic absenteeism, and it could affect the accountability level of the whole school system and the school"
account approved

Instructional materials $3.9M
Biancheria: "this has stayed the same, this did not increase"
staying level at $68/pupil
account passes

Misc Ed OM $2.8M
Monfredo: $5000 for out of state travel; who are we recruiting?
Allen: had this as a separate account, now moved into this account
aka no change in funding
Monfredo: wants to cut $5000 and put it towards teacher training
Allen: out of state travel for teacher recruitment
HR: last year did not to any out of state recruiting; this year have some concerns with recruiting English Language Learners
"might require us to expand our recruiting efforts"
Foley: have to channel Dr. Ogretta McNeil and say we need to diversify teaching force
Petty: out of state travel important to recruit people
motion fails
Colorio asks what virtual high school is, about the MAP and Dibels funding
response: most virtual high school are AP course
Binienda: MAP is not administration of it; cost of program
Meade-Montague: Dibels given through K and 1 to all students; data is put online and we pay for that management system
to Q on recruiting: depending more on face to face recruiting rather than printed ones
most of advertising is advertising multiple types of positions
Biancheria: fees and licenses; only North has credit recovery software?
Meade-Montaque: for credit recovery
Biancheria: do we need to change the budget so it shows it's for more than North
parking rentals: wants to add that it's the Y receiving the rental fees for Chandler Magnet
instructional technology and instructional technology equipment: difference
Allen: majority of instructional technology is for the lease of the computers in buildings
have to break out the other for capital account for reporting and auditing purposes
Biancheria: environmental management...mayor says that has moved
would like a report on Worcester Future Teachers
Binienda: group has expanded to North and South; four days at Worcester State learning lesson planning and learning what it's like to be a teacher
Biancheria: thanks for $100,000 for safety
aware of money coming in through facilities
"to have it up to $100,000 shows that we not only recognize the importance of safety in our schools, but the report we had several years ago for millions of dollars"
Monfredo: Worcester Future Teachers
losing classrooms at Chandler Elementary?
Binienda: Chandler Magnet: moving the six classes to the Collaborative on New Bond
take some time to paint and clean up that area, move Head Start or preschool
account approved

Unemployement approved
In state travel approved
Vehicle maintenance approved

Colorio: how many phones?
Allen: 350 phones
Colorio: how many are smart phones
Allen: 157
Colorio: how much per year
Allen: $600 per year before Erate
total amount paid for cell service $160K of which we're reimbursed $140,000
Colorio: for just the cell phones, not the landlines
Allen: correct
Colorio: my issue with this is everyone has a cell phone now, most people have enough data that they can do it now, glad that people pick up their phones
don't believe we need to be supplying that many phones to the district
motion to cut $100K
Petty had this conversation several years ago
Allen: assistant principals, intinerant sped; smart phones to administration, safety
Petty: if I cut $100K from that, where would you take it?
Allen: I'd have to ask the superintendent; who we wouldn't want to have to contact in the day or night
Binienda: wouldn't want everyone to have a principal's personal number; separate out personal texts
the reason, by the way, is that public business is subject to public document requests
O'Connell: incumbent on us to provide cell phones if they are required
would be reluctant to cut line
Monfredo: agree with Colorio, but $100,000 is too much
maybe consider $50K for this budget year
Petty: "maybe we should wait for the report before we cut anything"
Foley: don't have enough information to vote on this
Colorio amends to $50K
Binienda notes that some of this line item is Connect-Ed
Petty: security and privacy issues around using student names and information on private phones
motion to cut fails

motion to executive session, then resume budget at 7 after recognitions

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