Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Live reporting - School Committee budget

Maureen Sabolinski, Miriam Goodman, Jeff Roy

Nutting provides an intro
have enjoyed a tremendous relationship with Schools
share technology and facilities, excellent teamwork, always looking to save by doing things together

additional School Committee members present - Paula Mullen, Susan Rohrbach, Roberta Trahan

School budget shortage is $1.9M

Roy -
Budget usually increases approx. $3M
used revolving funds and stimulus money to get down to the 1.9M gap
At the last school committee meeting, discussed several items to reduce the gap with additional cuts or additional fee revenues

The proposed adjustments can be found here

No changes are proposed at Franklin High School due to the changes made last year that would survive the two years; by going from a seven period day to a six period day, 80 elective courses were dropped from the curriculum, students now have an option of only one elective (as opposed to two).

Lost over 100 teachers in the last five years, with an increase in students by 1,000 in same period, hence an increase in class sizes.

Eliminated 6 administrative positions over the past several years.

Dept of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) statistics show that Franklin spends below the State average on all eleven categories that they measure.

Special Ed director left for a slightly smaller district where they have three directors to handle the workload where we have one person to handle the workload on a larger district

Explanation on the elementary early dismissal day once a week. The students already exceed the state require hours of education, by releasing early one day, could eliminate the support positions to save three teacher positions, and still provide preparation time for the teachers

Most school districts are looking to try and increase the school day, we unfortunately are going the other direction

Middle school will see substantial class size increases

Elementary students are required to have 900 hours of education, we provide 960.
By releasing the students an hour and a half one day a week, we can save the positions outlined above and still meet the state requirements

It is very important for families to understand what is going on, we are overburdened adjusting for the need of the budget requirements; 100 teachers lost and 1,000 students gained, results in increased class sizes

Nursing salaries is a correction to bring them into alignment with the standards, this was negotiated several years ago, the contract expires this year

Roche - net minimum school spending?
Roy - the State formula that determines the minimum required by communities to provide for the educational benefits
Nutting - generally Franklin was about 15% above the minimum, that crept under 2 M this year, part of it was how the State changed the formula, if they don't change the formula, we would have to shift dollars from the Town side to the School side to meet the minimum required
Roche - if we continue down this trend, this is the wrong way to go
Nutting - part of is is their commitment to provide Chap 70, it is an economic issue and if their money is short, they will adjust to ensure that they can keep their commitment
Roche - the Long Range/Financial Planning Committee in their report has indicated that we are over reliant on state aid and need to be prepared

There seems to be a disconnect between perception and reality, with some folks saying the teachers are overpaid, there are too many administrators, etc. What is your role in explaining the situation for the override?

Members are ready to answer the questions and discuss the issues, we are available

You are probably preaching to the choir here, how are you going to reach the others?

there are some who even if the Town were burning would not want to put it out
there are 18,000 voters (actually 19,200) when you get 3,000 people this is not a true reflection of the public

there is a public forum on Monday May 24th to review the details

We will go where ever necessary to talk about the budget

What about thinking out of the box?

I think shortening the school day is a good example
I think we have been cutting so much, it is cutting down to the bone now

There have been a lot of creative things done in the last several years
Do you really feel the impact of a 7 to 6 period schedule change?
Some middle school students are seeing the impact with only one elective to choose from
We have done a lot of changes that have not been alarming, we are not pursuing this as a measure of sound bit. It has been a slow erosion over the year, sometime we have to stop

Utilizing and moving to more efficient school buildings

If our space needs we more flexible, we would love to do so, we don't have that option
If we were to close Davis Thayer, for example, and then come back in a few years to say we need a new elementary school, folks would quickly say: "What were you thinking?"

The capital plan has about 5 million dollars for improvements to non-high school buildings

Keller has 630 in a school built for 550, to think about eliminating space it just not practical

we will be looking at a re-districting to shift students from Keller to Davis Thayer, etc as there is still growth in the Keller area

Is there any increase for the salary this year?

There is only the cost of living increase from last year that was deferred last year and due this year

Most of the employees are covered by contract signed 3 years ago, those were legal obligations entered into for good faith, they took changes to their health insurance to save money and deferred their cost of living increase

What percent of staff does  is not affected by step/level?


what is the largest grade?

9th grade is 415, 8th grade is 504

Alluded to re-districting? when would that occur?

We would spend 2011 looking at it to make some recommendation to be effective for the 2011-2012 school year

Motion to approve, passed 7-2

Franklin, MA

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