Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Live reporting - Rep Vallee, Sen Spilka

a. State Representative Jim Vallee, Senator Karen Spilka

Rep Vallee - The budget is just starting, the presentation was impressive

Sen Spilka - Schools can be very responsive and creative
1st hearing Weds, Senate will work on its in May, House working now

Rep Vallee - the strides made in this community have been tremendous, these have brought so many new folks to the community as well. It is distressing to dismantle something that is doing so well, a portion of your budget is based upon State aid - you are so reliant State aid. School construction is now budgeted with a definite revenue stream after having gone wild several years ago. A challenge for us to continue to contribute to a quality education. The formula is so complicated, only one or two people perhaps know all the ins/outs.

Roy - I am so excited that you had a chance to see that presentation. We are down about 100 teachers but the spirit of the program remains in the system. No matter what adversities arise, they step up to them. I don't know if you can shed some light on what is coming down, we were delighted to see that the Governor's number didn't cut so much.

Sen Spilka - where as the school budget saw an increase in aid, other services (Dept of Mental Health, etc.) are stepping forward to ask for their cause. There may be some shifting around. Local aid and Chap 70 has been a priority for me. This budget will be the toughest budget yet, things will get better after this. We are on the rebound getting out of the recession. We are moving out of the recession faster than other states, rated 5th best state to do business in the nation. For those not employed or under-employed, this means nothing. Creating jobs is our number one priority. What ever we can do, the more jobs we can create, the healthier the revenue will be.

Roy - We are thankful that the two of you have returned to Beacon Hill. We appreciate the fact that you are helping us.

Rep Vallee - certainty is something to have, not something elusive, in our community we have been doing this for a while. State aid can't continue to rise every year, having some certainty we can at least make some plans. I get the calls too! It is hard. It is something I would like to see achieved.

Cafasso - We talk about local aid, it is 54% of our budget, we should be thankful, and we are. Both of you have done well by this district. It is time for the citizens to bear more of the burden for this district. We are very appreciative of your continued support.

Sen Spilka - I have been filing legislation in an attempt to find an alternative source to the property taxes.

Rohrbach - It is a scary position, when state aid goes down, it is a problem for us. How long will it take to adjust the huge cruise ship to a different model/ The circuit breaker is one item if we could close to the Gov's number. We pay about a million dollars for out of district transportation.

Sen Spilka- I did file legislation to help communities like this. All of them geared to reducing the cost of special education.

Glynn - thank you for your efforts. I attended a suburban coalition meeting last week. It is very disheartening to know, what we have been doing via cuts with what we have had and comparison to other towns where they get less state aid.  For something that is a national priority, you can’t expect to finance it via homeowners, that’s a broken financial model. We are talking about hundreds of kids here in Franklin, this effects thousands of kids nationwide.

Updated 2/16/11 via email from Bill Glynn

Rep Vallee - the model that we have, we were sued and lost. So the State passed Ed Reform to address that. The model is not sustainable. We patched the tire instead of fixing the model. There are a lot of people who agree with us. No one has come up with an acceptable solution. When you start contracting budgets, it forces you to look at things. To think outside the box to come up with a solution. We know the formula, we stabilize a country and educate the kids overseas. We need to change it here.

Sen Spilka - I was on the School Committee previously, my first intro to Beacon Hill was lobbying it. We need to get to critical mass. We did make a change five years ago. It was supposed to be on a five year plan. I am not sure aggregate income is the way to go. We did get some predictability from the Dept of Rev. We did make it simpler. It sill is not fully simple. The piece that eluded us is adequacy. The constitution mandates it but the definition of adequacy has changed. There are so many factors. The Dept of Ed is undertaking an adequacy study now. Hopefully by this summer, we'll have some results. What should be built into the funding formula. That I am hoping will be a springboard for the next round of ed reform.

Glynn - adequacy can not lie in the eyes of the beholder

Franklin, MA

No comments:

Post a Comment