I feel as if I am back in the days when I started this blog, when there'd be the single article about the School Committee meeting, and anything else that happened, you didn't hear about. While admittedly both voting to move to fully in-house transportation and voting to start a national search for a new superintendent are news of the headline making sort, there are other things that happened at our meetings in the past two weeks.
Here's a rundown on the highlights:
Over the past number of weeks, we've ratified contractual agreements with EAW units A&B (that's anyone classified as a teacher plus assistant principals and the like); drivers and monitors; custodians; computer technicians; 52 week administrative secretaries; and educational secretaries. In every case, those contracts brought them at least up to date as of the close this past fiscal year OR brought them up through the end of this one (this last is the case with the teachers). As a result, the School Committee this past week voted an increase for the non-represented (non union) employees, which is everyone from administrators to crossing guards.
I can't talk out of turn on the units that are outstanding save to say that negotiations are ongoing.
We had an update on the dual language program at the August 26 meeting, which, among other things, noted that the state assessing our dual language learners only in English doesn't accurately assess their actual knowledge and skill in subject matters. We asked to be apprised of which districts are running dual language programs, so we might work with them on advocacy, though this obviously is larger than the dual language program.
While the report out on the August 18 Finance and Operations subcommittee meeting attracted attention largely due to the recommendation to move fully to in-house transportation, I don't want to overlook the closing of the fiscal year. Worcester had, remember, a $372M budget for FY21, after we cut $16M once we finally got a state budget. For municipal districts, anything that isn't spent--down literally to the penny--goes back to the municipality to be certified as free cash for the end of the year. That is a difficult and complex process.
And how much did the Worcester Public Schools give back this year?