Thursday, November 20, 2008

live reporting - school budget continued

Discussion on step/level changes versus the across the board rate increase.

The union both teachers and others in town would really fight hard on changing the step/level changes.

The Franklin teachers were cooperative in the most recent deal in accepting the 6.5% over three year increase.

Police, fire do this step/level thing too, the teachers are not alone. After 13 years, when you are theoretically at the top of your game, you only get an annual cost of living increase (i.e. the 2/2/2.5%). In other industries, you get opportunities for bonuses, etc.

What percent of the SPED budget is transportation?
At least 25-35%.

For the total SPED population we are about 70 students. That fluctuates from year to year depending upon the overall student population.

School employment equals 471 professional teaching staff, plus administrators, secretarial, to total approx 620.

Supplies were frozen overall. We equalized the amount at each level elementary, middle and high school levels to work out to be $210, $225, $355 respectively.

There are a 159 at the masters level, 75 will be at the top of the guide next year.
Typically English, Social Studies, Music we could get at an entry level. For Science, most likely would need to get at something higher than the entry level.

Class size charts reviewed to depict where the district is today.

Science class sizes were kept at around 24 due to the physical space, the labs were set for 2 students per station and 12 stations per room. To do more than that runs risk of additional dangers in handling the scientific materials.

Elementary sizes suffer from a distribution problem unless we re-district every year to make the adjustments.

Can we compare how successful we were at higher class sizes versus lower class sizes?
Yes, and no, not easily. There is a lot of national research on class size. New England Association of Schools and Colleges has asked the high school what impact the increase in class size will have. The comparative is a trailing indicator. You find out when it is too late.

We have a one shot deal here.
The past committees have really tried to preserve class size as the one major educational item of significance.

Could you experiment with different models of the mix of younger vs. older teachers?
Tenure vs. professional teaching status. The first three years the school district has a whole lot of flexibility. For the fourth year, there is now a right for that position.

With the three year starting process and then the flatness over 13 years, you really don't have any flexibility with teachers salary.

Not sure that you can track AP classes from year to year like we can with MCAS scores.

What else can we look at, turn over some rocks to find?
Probably don't have time tonight to look at that.

Next meeting: Dec 4th, Dec 18th, Jan 15th, Feb 5th

Discussion on "free cash", get started on the financial model

Think about all that we have heard and start to synthesize.

FY 10 salary numbers will be available in January, the out years should be discussed. Collective bargaining will be coming, Jan 2010 on the town side. Teachers will start negotiation in Sep 2009. We did secure some energy contracts so we can update those numbers in January. The pension numbers fluctuate and we need a better number. We'll still have a hugh budget gap.

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