Thursday, June 15, 2017

Worcester School Committee on FY18 (round three)

I missed a few accounts, but came in just in time for Brian O'Connell's annual professed ignorance about the table of accounts (the "hidden administrators") speech. Mr. O'Connell, of course, is a school business manager.
Mr. O'Connell argues for and makes a motion to cut $150,000 from the central administration account.

Binienda: lots of districts adding SEL positions, teaching the current staff to deal with SEL, reduce suspensions
"we need all those positions" for the district
grant from DESE this year to prevent Level 3 schools from falling into Level 4 schools; agreement was if you took the money for the grant, we would add the position this year
which is also in line with the seven point financial plan
"I feel personally that we're already at a skeleton crew"
Monfredo: "why would we try to micromanage her administration if she says that she needs this?...need to rely on her judgment to make these tough decisions"
"principals need someone they can call upon"
Foley: see budget as strategic plan
"I'm not going to sit here and try to micromanage money here and there"
"hire the superintendent, let her run this district...evaluate her annually"
Biancheria: the five position change aren't in principals and assistant principals
"my suggestion would be that we look at this further down the line...because the numbers don't add up"
Allen: a number of changes that took place after the budget book last year was printed
"you asked us to include all funds in the full time positions"
"the net change of positions is three"
increase of a turnaround position (during last school year)
increase of a SEL manager
new director of instructional tech
add assistant principal at Forest Grove
loss of an assistant principal at Creamer
eliminating director of supplemental services; eliminating director of advanced academy
total administrative position
Colorio also made a motion to cut $100K
Colorio: this is our job, this is our responsibility to oversee
Petty: we've asked the superintendent how she's going to serve the children of the city of Worcester
administrative costs with respect to other cities and towns
Allen: p 396, peer communities, we're the lowest in administrative spending
motion to cut fails
account passes

Teachers' salaries $158M
account passes
School Committee salaries $89,445
account passes with cut of half a year of a single salary
Teacher's substitute salaries
IA's salaries $9.9M
Coaches $555K
Biancheria concerned that we didn't have coverage and didn't have a coach for one school
Binienda: providing healthy activities for children after school
principals have requested intermural sports so more children can participate
can also investigate if we can also have some sports
Colorio: athletic liaisons at each high school
is this a teacher?
Binienda: should look at this as being underfunded: check eligiblity for sports at the beginning of the season, recheck once report cards come out
"it's a lot of work for the amount of compensation they get"
Monfredo: had lengthy conversations with softball manager; would love to see middle school teams
account approved

Transportation salaries approved
Supplemental program salaries approved

 Custodial salaries
Biancheria does this include Nelson Place increase?
Allen yes
Biancheria did we cut oversight?
Allen combined with trade oversight; single second shift oversight
McCullough: why was the projection for FY17 so much less?
Allen: relocated positions into schools

maintenance salaries approved
administration clerical salaries approved
school clerical approved
non-instructional support salaries
Biancheria information systems: continues to rise
had a Blue Ribbon group, and since then it continues to rise
"at some point, there has to be a line that is drawn on how much we're going to spend if we're continuing at this pace, it's going to outweigh other areas we're going to look at"
Foley: we all see in all of our businesses, we see technology exploding
"we are still significantly below where the foundation budget says we should be and significantly below our peers"
Allen: decision of district to internally develop software "really began back in the mid 90's"
"around collection of Medicaid funds"
"fairly robust ability to on a shoestring"
were a DESE test district to provide real time data
investment in staff rather than software
"we're saving on software fees...I think the number was $750,000 for initial purchase and tens of thousands in later years"
Colorio: is this developing programs? an Engrade system internally?
Walton: grading system will be part of student information system
Colorio: parent liaisons: home visits? what languages do they speak?
Allen: are all at parent information center
Brophy: had many, many parent liaison years ago; now just four at the PIC
full time employees
"That was their perspective years ago...focus is currently on intake and language"
"years ago, we probably had 30 parent liaisons in the system...would like to see us get back to that and get to more meetings in the evening and things like that"
liaisons speak Greek, Arabic, Spanish, in addition to English
McCullough glad to see part time position going to a full time position
account approved

Crossing guards
Biancheria: do we give them new vests and new signs?
Brophy: yes, we do; I'd like to get them new signs
Foley: heard in third quarter about some of the vacancies
look at trend over the past five years
would encourage the administration to do what we can to fill those vacancies

School nurses salaries approved
Ed support salaries
Biancheria: clinicians has changed over
"I can't stress enough...I'm more than interested in getting additional information on this"
need to review the benefits of the changeover; "there's many questions" in reference to this

Transportation overtime approved
custodian overtime:
Colorio: is there any sort of recommendation that we'd hire more custodians
Allen: something we're thinking about; savings in salary line item
some are associated with employees that are out on workers compensation
"maybe at some point we can come back with administration's thoughts, which kind of align with that question"
O'Connell: isn't overtime when there's an emergency? isn't it more economical?
Allen: I agree with that as well
the bulk of the time that are spent in that manner; then bulk of the time covering for vacancies

maintenance service overtime approved
support overtime approved

Colorio: "I know we've seen a lot of restructuring"
"I know we're going towards fresh foods instead of processed foods"
Allen: essentially, last year we made a decision to no longer contract out individual preprepared meals; this year, entirely making food in house
to do that, need chefs to make the food
"building an in-house culinary team...really through the benefit of the address those unitized meals...but also hire a chef to improve the meal items at the schools"
further enhancement of the compliance programs, and increase of the training
cooking taking place at North High and at Worcester Tech (for prepared)
Nutrition is entirely self-supporting

O'Connell refers grants to F&O
Colorio asks for a report of the superintendent on grants
grants approved

budget passes 5-2, Biancheria and O'Connell opposed

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