Thursday, May 28, 2020

School Committee Meeting recap - budget not good news, 25 or more teachers targeted for potential cuts

As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter during the meeting reporting in real-time via the virtual session.

The Twitter hashtag can be found online: "#schcomm0526"

Real-time reporting
  • Real-time reporting underway for School Committee meeting tonight #schcomm0526
  • Attendance via roll call for #schcomm0526 all 7 present
  • Superintendent report: #schcomm0526 Miriam Goodman presented recently to a professional group ; bus fees clarification, to provide continuity of service: approx 50 participation in meeting
  • Roles in education expanding, doc explaining such roles shared via link posted in Superintendent report #schcomm0526 available in Weds AM and on main page
  • Details on June 5 timing coming next week. 50th anniversary group of FHS graduation, where are they? TBD #schcomm0526

Retiree Recognition
Intro of New FHS principal
  • Next up - intro of the new FHS principal Josh Hanna. #schcomm0526 his first comment was that he was blown away by the retirement honorees, how much that means, he is excited to be here
  • Next up; discussion/action items with some policy changes; 2 for second reading, motion to approve, second, passed 7-0 #schcomm0526 next item motion to approve as 1st reading, passed 7-0. Votes via roll call: last item policy elimination, passed 7-0
Discussion only items
  • Discussion only items: closure update first - DESE guidelines on in person grad released last week, already planning for the virtual grad and parade will go forward. #schcomm0526 Friday June 5 the plan, pre-recorded sets of grad diploma and speeches to be broadcast
  • Plans underway school visits to clear out rooms, lockers, etc. Schedule being finalized. Awaiting summer guidelines from DESE; CDC guidance released, awaiting state info on the September planning #schcomm0526
  • Next up budget... Yes, budget for #schcomm0526 up for Finance Committee meeting on Thursday, May 28. Magnitude of gap between $3.4m and $5.4m currently, those numbers could change as State funding is determined (whenever that is?)
  • FY 22 and FY 23 will also be challenging budget years given the uncertainty of the economy, the pandemic, and the recovery. #schcomm0526 Judy asks why education can't be delivered more cheaply, avg salary (w/o benefits) is 70K?
  • Budget was going to be an issue before COVID-19, only gets worse with the pandemic State and Town revenue in disarray. Likely to be one of several budgets per Town Admin J Hellen. #schcomm0526 option 1 could mean 25 positions (3.4m) option 2 could mean 50 (5.4m)
  • Salaries are somewhat competitive, we do loose candidates when they have multiple offers, #schcomm0526 budget is 75-80 percent to salary and benefits. Tim came because of the schools, if we keep cutting, that perspective/expectation will change
  • There is some reimbursement of COVID-19 incremental costs but not enough to provide a resolution to the major budget issue. Cares act approx $126,000 #schcomm0526
  • Lots of programs are designed to keep students in district to avoid higher outplacement costs, the story needs to be told of all that is done. #schcomm0526 students are coming with greater challenges needing more support, and that won't change
  • Judy asks what part of the budget is unfunded mandates? Per Sara, a good number but not readily available, can work to pull together something. #schcomm0526 reduction of teachers will increase class size; supplies generally picked up by teachers when cut from budget
Information matters
  • Moving on to info matters; budget subcomm meeting regularly, Community relations met last week, newsletter in works for what is underway. MA ranks 2nd in criteria of responses to COVID-19 response. Facility report coming early June, no decision made #schcomm0526
  • Facility updates on the schools page #schcomm0526
  • Next up - future agenda items, DECA students scheduled for June 9 meeting, request for page numbering on docs over 2 pages (some one still using printed copies) #schcomm0526 motion to accept consent agenda passed 7-0 via roll call
  • Motion to adjourn, second, passes via roll call 7-0. Real time reporting for this meeting ends. Thanks! #schcomm0526
Agenda document

Meeting packet folder

School Committee Meeting recap - budget not good news
School Committee Meeting recap - budget not good news

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