Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Worcester School Committee meets for mid-August

I'd honestly missed that this was happening entirely, and there isn't a whole lot on the agenda beyond allocating the funds over the FY20 budget as passed in June.
Note that as it is summertime, the meeting is at 4 pm.

There are some honors and recognitions.
The administration has sent along the admission policy of Worcester Tech. Note that these are subject to state approval, and DESE is reworking their guidance on them, with an eye towards equity. This probably should be up for reconsideration over the next few months, then. Note for homeschoolers: an "approved" homeschool program?

There are prior fiscal year payments
  • of $2,392.50 to EI US, LLC dba (doing business as) LearnWell, due to a name change.
  • of $896.00 to Providence Nursing Agency for CNAs
  • of $538.84 to Stevens Children’s Home Inc. dba (doing business as) Stevens Treatment Programs
Mr. O'Connell suggests commenting on " the proposed 'Revision of Categorical Eligibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)' issued by the US Department of Agriculture." The comment period closes September 23.

This item:
Request that the Administration provide a proposed budget for a multi-faceted staff diversity recruitment initiative, and to allocate funds to implement it from the additional state aid furnished by the FY20 State Budget as enacted during July.
...and this item:
Request that the Administration provide its plans for the allocation of the new funding from the State.

immediately surround what the School Committee had to know was coming: the administration's proposed FY20 adjustments.

The adopted FY20 budget has an additional $4.6M (net) coming to the Worcester Public Schools from the budget the School Committee adopted in June, which was based on the proposed House Ways and Means budget.
That looks like this:

Note that of the $24.4M increase over last year, $13.2M of that is coming in from inflation. It is only the next highest amount, $8.9M, that is coming in from Foundation Budget changes; this should answer Mr. Monfredo's later item requesting an update on the impact of the foundation budget. Let's remember that when we hear claims about what FY20 did. And also:
We continue to look forward to final passage of a new Foundation Budget formula that adopts funding for economically disadvantaged students at the highest possible level.
What is administration recommending the funding go to?
  • 6 instructional coaches "to provide instructional support and turnaround efforts" (there's that unannounced 'turnaround' again) at Burncoat High and Middle, Forest Grove, Sullivan, WEMS, and Challenge and Reach [$524,772]
  • 4 elementary teachers and 1 elementary assistant principal; no word on where, though one assumes the teachers are for lower class size [$447,310]
  • 5 ESL teachers, including the kindergarten dual language teacher for Woodland, which...had that not been budgeted for? [$437,310]
  • 2 special ed teachers plus the conversion of an early childhood teacher into dept head, plus a Deaf and hard of hearing team chair [$183,062]
  • 1 "health/drug" educator, which was advocated for during budget...I still have no idea what this person is to do, 'though there is an item requesting one following this on the agenda [$87,462]
  • 2 guidance counselors (half a postion each for Burncoat Middle and High, 1 at North) [$174,924]
  • 1 teacher at WEMS (no word for what) and converting Gerald Creamer Center evening adminstrator to a full time position (costing $2800) [$89,662]
  • 10 sped IAs [$366,055]
  • "an increase in middle school and freshman sports opportunities" with funding to support coaching, uniforms, supplies and transportation [$130,000]
  • 1 clerical for special ed "to support compliance and administrative support for the department" [$75,000]
  • 1 school-year clerical for the Fanning building, which doesn't have any [$39,672]
  • 1 grant information specialist [$70,000]
  • 1 school nurse (doesn't say where for) [$68,675]
  • additional time for English language proficiency testing in the Parent Information Center [$20,000]
  • 10 literacy tutors [$211,960]
  • PD for "focused instructional coaches, social emotional staff, technology training, CPI and restraint training, and CPR training" [$37,650]
  • dual language curriculum [$77,000]
  • an increase "in costs" for STAR assessment [$37,812]
  • "additional Chromebooks at the elementary and middle level" (no word on where or how many) plus computers for the additional staff here added [$396,000]
  • "to begin the process of developing an RFP for a new student information system and implementation process" which was already in the budget--I'll have to look up for how much--and now somehow we need MORE funding for? [$225,000]
  • nurse supplies which is overdue and underfunded [$19,862]
  • Sullivan security system upgrade which seems rather random [$160,000]
  • building maintenance: 
    • Sullivan Middle carpet [$140,000]
    • North High phones [$75,000]
    • Claremont additional lockers [$50,000]
    • sped office painting and carpet replacement [$8400]
  • shift of funds from Title I, which is coming through less than budgeted, plus positions have increased in cost (this is odd) [$455,269]
PLUS: the charter assessment came through AS BUDGETED, so the "in case" line isn't needed. That means that there is $350,000 available. Administration is recommending adding 10 IA positions for some of the kindergarten classes that don't have them. There are 89 K rooms, 63 positions, currently; this would get to 73, and the remaining 16 would be part of the plan for FY21.
Note that the final page attempts to tie this back to the strategic plan.

The Committee is asked to accept the following donations:
  • -$6,498.50 from various fundraising efforts at Woodland Academy
  • -$500.00 from EOS Foundation to Francis McGrath Elementary School for the 2019 Healthy Start Award
  • -$365.25 from Lifetouch to Chandler Magnet School
  • -$155.00 from various donors to the Patricia Falcone Memorial Scholarship
Mr. O'Connell wants to hang banners on lightpoles about the schools.

And there is an executive session "to discuss litigation with respect to CAS petition Bus Drivers" after the meeting. 

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