Thursday, April 5, 2018

"it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

Blog post title taking its cue tonight from the report's reference
Posting as we go, which won't be 'til after a bit
Kathleen Smith, superintendent of the Brockton Public Schools, is here with her Chief Budget Officer Aldo Petronio and three members of her school committee
Petty: very interested in what's going on in Brockton
Binienda reviews the premise of the McDuffy case and the foundation budget
Smith speaks of the Leading the Nation event this morning and Jami McDuffy of whom they're very proud
"all means all" from Reville

Globe article: things she spoke of then are becoming true again today
back to Binienda, who goes on with the explanation
"what makes a difference" between Newton and places like Brockton and Worcester is the difference is the additional local contribution
Smith: see as much as 300% above foundation in some places
needs of students different, including social and emotional learning
Binienda notes findings of Foundation Budget Review Commission
Smith: "We were very pleased when that report came down"
"and we continue to wait for those recommendations to be brought down and brought forward"
"they understand how important it is to push those recommendations forward"
Brian Allen notes update of gaps with health insurance
likewise Brockton

then special education

and that comes out of the classroom

and everywhere else

Petronio: "combined our cities are behind on these two areas by almost $100M..." which is about the same amount by which the whole of the state aid increased this year
"they would have to add another 6 to 8 percent on top of that to start to meet some of the foundation budget recommendations"
Smith: had to close a $16M gap last year
hits the classroom "certainly not doing what we should be doing" for our students
Binienda and Smith review support of the bills
Smith quotes Reville saying he was surprised that there was not a lawsuit, as the Commission had brought forward the evidence

Allen: more recent change to the low income calculation
and I'm not going to explain how this happened, either 
"funding certainly does not match the way the enrollment has changed" over these years
Smith: people were very leery of filling out forms
hired someone to work with families on filling out forms
were very successful; up to 81% at one point
met with Executive Office; "systemic bias"
"when you look at the children you are NOT able to service...I think this would be one of those important categories" when we go forward with legal options
Petronio: have been trying to rebuild since loss of count
"some of these cities have poor children that are from the United States, so they're picked up...undocumented children are not being picked up"
from MassHealth to MassHealth Limited: more kids "but they reduced our decile rating"
Allen: it's not just the loss of the students; it's that the state's matching program needed to improve
FY19 budget reflects improved data collection at the state level
7.8% increase in the count; keeping deciles the same would have been at $136.5 increase; so the deciles were decreased by $200/pupil or a 5% decrease
Petronio: "we look at our enrollment numbers October 2 and start calculating"
"it wasn't until the day the Governor's budget came out...wait a minute, what's going on here?"
"decreased all the deciles...they could have done some shifting, they could have done some calculating"
Smith: commission did look at area of poverty; "it made no sense to me that you'd look at that and then reduce"
Allen: we would have anticipated a $2.5M increase; reflects 35 teaching positions that we would have been able to fund next year
Petronio: discussed homelessness with state around more being counted; nothing done
Allen: recommendation that funding be shifted UP the decile
foundation budget has worked well "because it has been permanant and predicable"
changes have been "arbitrary"
Petronio: differences are that they divided the difference by ten
rates should be better adjusted so poorer communities receive more aid

Petty: Gateway Cities are really shortchanged
everybody had their own lawsuits and they were combined under Brockton
"a quick question on where you stand with litigation now"
Smith: "we've certainly talked about this for awhile"
want to get the word out there "that we're not going away"
"our attorney, who does not want to go forward with this case"
"with the article in the Globe, have had outreach from large law firms in Boston" around taking the case pro bono
speaking to urban superintendents tomorrow
"the ball is rolling"
partnerships and coalitions
"we just have to continue to move forward"
Petty: what Worcester takes on, what Brockton takes on
"I think people forget what cities take on"
"I think we're going to take up the fight with you...other communities calling too"
"it's out there; this is what we should be getting paid for our schools"

McCullough: see it from another city's perspective
"we really do need to work together to ensure that this foundation formula does get changed"
"still we're grossly underfunded and we're doing a disservice to our students"
"this has to stop"
"our students aren't being provided what they need to move forward"

Monfredo: "need to work together on this...make sure our Gateway districts are all on board"
notes that three years have passed since Commission report
"we need to mobilize the rest of the Gateway Cities and make this a statewide issue"
"we have an obligation to do everything we can for our students"

O'Connell: notes that Jami McDuffy's father was a president of MASC
the facts are with us
"what is the current law under which the case is being interpreted"
McDuffy laid out seven standards of education
"our challenge probably comes from the Hancock case" to show what case is being made "however slowly"
and cites the Ireland echoing of the Brown "all deliberate speed"
"to highlight the fact that painfully slow progress is no progress"

Foley: "the City of Champions have been champions for education financing for twenty-five years"
hearing from MASS and MASC "looking at this, and saying we have to come together"
"it's really our fiduciary responsibility to fight for our fight for our children"
"this reminds me of the late 1980's and early 1990's right now"
"it's time for us to push this forward"
Peisch said without the lawsuit, we wouldn't have seen ed reform in 1993
"have to keep advocating on behalf of all of our children"

Comparetto: receving an outpouring of support from all parts of the community
"Worcesterites really want to see leadership from our city"
"now is really the time to send a message"
"let's get this lawsuit going and let's sue the state!"

Biancheria: you have to question the numbers
the question is always "how are the schools in Worcester? how are the the schools across the towns?"
"we have some of the same interests"
"we have to be on the same page as our delegation" asks if Brockton is fully supported by their delegation (they are)
asks that the delegation receive the report

student rep from Worcester Tech: quotes Oliver Twist: "There is a passion for hunting something deeply implanted in the human breast."
"I want to build a school system that makes me want to go back to the beginning of high school."

Brockton Vice Chair Tom Minichiello: "you love your city as we love ours"
"we know how to get the work done"
"they have made the case against themselves for us"
"simply want to provide our students what is fair, what is equitable, what is just"
"our budget is regressive"
"we are continually having to lay off, give up, not purchase"

Smith: "I have great faith..." has been in her district for forty-two years
"I was around twenty-five years ago, and I worked under those conditions...and I watched as that money came's a passion and a perservance that's going to make it succeed"
Binienda: likewise 42 years
"we need the extra for the kids who have those gaps...and we're not providing that this year"
"gain momentuum in other cities joining us"

Petty: get more cities involved
"make it one big package...the more cities the better, and take the fight on."

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