Wednesday, June 24, 2020

School Committee reluctantly approves budget cuts 6/23/20

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 #sc0623

  • Real time reporting underway for school Committee meeting 6/23/20 #sc0623 all present, although one (Keenan) wasn't on for roll call but was on for pledge.
  • First up, superintendent's report: response protocol for hate/bias developed, staff training, time for study of students and families, engage in difficult conversation, #sc0623 reading anchor text as prelude to retreat this summer
  • Seal of bi-literacy at FHS will be a credential to help mark work in this area, expanded work and materials in elementary, 'world of difference' effective at middle levels #sc0623 continuing to examine practice, "can't be perfect but striving to be better"
  • Looking to engage on this across the community of Franklin; Extended school year beginning July, plan to be shared by week end, DESE sent guidance, in person as 'feasible' anticipating additional guidance #sc0623
  • Slideshow of art work by teacher to be included in superintendent notes on Wednesday, #sc0623
  • Moving to discuss/action item - revised budget up for vote, working towards this # for several weeks, no changes in spreadsheet, all made reluctantly
  • 2 K teachers added back due to enrollment, total FTE still 19.5 #sc0623 music and clubs limited for middle due to coming back from closure and distance restriction, not eliminated, reduced. Do still anticipate a local aid reduction later this summer at state level
  • Chorus, band and athletics still on table for future reductions is the state cuts come through, #sc0623 working through DESE guidance on music programs. Motion, second Q speech/language others would have to pick up 'slack' Q what implications for non approval?
  • Concern about decisions to be made with hiring, etc but at some point need a decision where the cuts would be made. "Everything is painful" reacting to bottom line # we see. #sc0623 Q on 1/12 budget, doesn't apply here per Town guidance. This is not the last go round
  • I understand the budget is not what you want to see but it is what we have. #sc0623 class size at FHS depends upon the courses and selections, likely 25-28 maybe low 20's Q was asked of other Town depts if they had enough $s; was not asked of Sara last week
  • This is not related to COVID-19, we had our numbers before that happened, the funding levels are not at where they need to be for the schools. #sc0623 Q on SPED cuts, we will need some help in the fall, these were made after a review of the student IEPs
  • Sara "I don't want to say it is without impact but it is not unreasonable." (Could also say that they were insufficient to begin with and get worse with this) #sc0623 Student Opportunity Act is pending, possibly not likely to happen this year
  • Q out of district placements costs could be much higher; if so we will need to figure it out in the moment, but this is what we have now. #sc0623 can't foresee specific actions today, but we'll have options to work with.
  • Q on administrator possible cuts vs. teachers non-admin impact is 3% vs. admin is 4-5%; public comment, stay within 3 mins, please do not repeat what has been said. Donna Grady, this is a Town wide problem, not just a school problem #sc0623 raises a series of budget line Qs
  • Q on substitutes amount of increase? Concern on deputy cut at FHS, he is the senior person with knowledge of the building and staff
  • Comment on equity of cuts to protect the most vulnerable. Q on FHS deputy, a personnel issue and can't discuss. Vote via roll call 6-1 (Keenan no)
  • MASC resolution; 45 SchCom have approved #sc0623 related to
  • Motion on first, seconded, vote via roll call 7-0 #sc0623
  • Second resolution via FEF, moved, seconded, vote via roll call 5-1-1 (D'Angelo abstain, MJ no) #sc0623 "sure it is resolved but how is the state going to provide the funding when it is not there"
  • Next up; anti-racism resolution received so much feedback from Community; let's take it back, incorporate and bring back to Committee for vote but not tonight #sc0623 worthwhile to check with the local resources. The subcommittee meetings are open
  • Last action item on agenda for FHS 2020 student activity account; future events of the class, plans for future gathering, they have extra money due to the closure that prevented earlier expenses #sc0623 vote via roll call 7-0
  • Facilities Analysis subcommittee has a survey for review before sending out to Community. Bergen reads official policy on facility retirement. Policy link #sc0623 important to read! Guide the subcommittee work plan
  • Some qualitative questions, should be taken that way. Broaden the DT question, i.e. other family members in other schools, and class size. Q so broad, could be interpreted so many ways; may tweak to narrow responses #sc0623 what is point if asking if it doesn't tell us something
  • Calendar for SchComm meetings, revisit? Is one enough for July? Timing for retreat? There is plenty to do. 7/14 and 7/28 for SchComm meetings. Look at time in August hopefully in person. #sc0623 based upon status, how much are we spending for off-site? Nothing
  • Budget Subcommittee meeting 6/17 saw the cuts tonight. MASC - Community relations, tentative July 6, 3 pm; Facilities analysis - June 11 drafted survey, email address for subcommittee, analysis in final report due from consultant, one piece of study. #sc0623
  • Both sides (closing DT, complete study) have points, we will follow the policy and not make a quick decision. The plan and steps are outlined and we'll keep it. Web link no recommendation at this time
  • When can we expect report? Sent email today, don't know. want to have principals review this before going to subcommittee. Subcommittee gathers info and proposes to full Committee for vote, if we deem excess, then Town Council gets to decide but not until then #sc0623
  • Superintendent eval, in process. PCC all done for year; someone for FEF to represent SchComm (Denise by acclimation), can coach for the Wizards game! #sc0623 move along to new business, more budget depending upon info, school re-opening, policy, annual report draft
  • Consent agenda up for approval; vote via roll call, passes 7-0 #sc0623
  • Motion to enter executive session, via roll call passes 7-0 not to return to open meeting
  • That completes this night, catch you all next time! #sc0623 oh, and BTW Town Council meets Weds 6/24, ask them for more money for the schools, or at least ask why they won't?
screen capture of SchComm virtual meeting 6/24/20
screen capture of SchComm virtual meeting 6/24/20

Superintendent Sara Ahern provides update during meeting 6/24/20
Superintendent Sara Ahern provides update during meeting 6/24/20

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