Thursday, December 3, 2020

School Committee Budget Workshop - Recap - Dec 1, 2020

Quick Recap:

  • lots of information to digest in this broad overview of the finances supporting education in the school district
  • at one point in this workshop, in attempting to answer a question about "What if?" (261 districts spend more than Franklin currently does), the discussion led one member to go off. The response to this was professional and articulate by the Superintendent and Business Administrator
  • attempt at quantifying the impact of 'unfunded mandates' was thoughtful and conservative albeit incomplete but that is the situation 
  • more to come as there will be a 'deep dive' with the Finance Committee on Dec 15
  • Consensus was to bring back the Legislative Forum (held in three prior years) and start planing for
Photos shared via Twitter during the meeting can be found in one folder:


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  #schcomBW1201

  • #schcomBW1201 SchComm budget workshop about to begin at 6 PM. Listen in to gain insights on the budget issues the schools face (and how they might begin to resolve them, I hope)
  • School Committee budget workshop - Tuesday, Dec 1 - 6:00 PM  = use your web browser to watch the Live Stream   #schcomBW1201
  • Missed a few minutes for recording purposes, my tech issue, #schcomBW1201 workshop framed in opening comments by Chair Bergen, Business Admin Miriam Goodman acknowledges work of intern to prepare deck/info. Superintendent will also lead parts of workshop
  • Use agenda doc  to follow along if necessary. #schcomBW1201
  • #schcomBW1201 opening slide frame process and timeline for budget development and discussion towards approval (based upon typical budget - this year FY 21 is not yet completed by State)
  • "Where should we be within the range of per pupil expenses?" "We should spend with the money allocated by the town" counseling is a priority we have not yet addressed #schcomBW1201 Community relations is a priority where are we spending, how are we spending.
  • "We need to paint the picture of what we need and let the community decide. SEL work is important and from that comes special ed, gifted and talented, etc. Would support more counseling." Need to create vision around portrait of a graduate and how much it will cost #schcomBW1201
  • "We can make a wish list but how can we deliver if we don't have the basics." "How much is needed to provide the best education in MA for the students here in Franklin?" Individualized training for professional development, not just throwing money at PD. #schcomBW1201
  • Moving to info gathered, 3 years of data and comparison among comparable districts #schcomBW1201 use agenda doc to follow link to pupil expenses
  • Next up, what would our pupil expenses look like if we matched 50% of the state average (which is more than we do today) #schcomBW1201
  • 261 districts spend more than Franklin currently does. #schcomBW1201 continuing this thought line, it would add $15M to our budget (where the money would come from is another story) not an all inclusive listing, other committees have seen something like this
  • Franklin is at the 25%, are we comfortable to be there. Franklin currently finances teacher benefits what would the PPE look like? Is that calculated in the same way across the districts. Pfeffer goes off the edge in workshop misunderstanding the numbers discussed #schcomBW1201
  • Calm, professional response from Superintendent Ahern to Pfeffer concludes that the official budget proposal will come forward later in the cycle. Business Admin Goodman also a great response. #schcomBW1201
  • The listing and comparison is enlightening. It is not insulting to share info on what we could have and others do have. They need to know to make an informed decision to determine what we get (or don't) #schcom1201 moving to unfunded mandates working diligently to define
  • Quantification of unfunded mandates is hard, Student opportunity act outlines issues with the funding behind that. Did make estimates for some items included in second link in agenda doc #schcomBW1201
  • #schcomBW1201 the funding is highly regulated and some of the providers are uncomfortable with the reporting requirements. The funds coming into the Town end up in general coffers (not school side).
  • Use of revolving accounts, enrollment, student teacher ratio are among other topics being prepared for a FinCom discussion scheduled for Dec 15 #schcomBW1201 what else would Committee like to see in pamphlet for informing the Community.
  • "FPS budget is not funded fully, would like to see it proposed to be in line with the Town designation". Common questions: what have we list, what are we saving? Updating what's there is needed. #schcomBW1201 add key elements of portrait of a graduate.
  • Question on the enrollment, and significant changes re: trend of pandemic enrollment, also part of a recent Globe article. Did see an increase in pure home school students (approx 28 to 70). % attrition per demographer is good compared to other Communities #schcomBW1201
  • Pamphlet is one way, we'd take to Community relations to see how we can get it. Working with Anne Marie to produce a video on school budget 101, about 75% done. Explain difference between level funding and level service. #schcomBW1201
  • Legislative forum? Yes. To plan for! motion to adjourn, via roll call vote passes 6-0 (D'Angelo not present) That's all for tonight, catch you next time #schcomBW1201


School Committee Budget Workshop - Recap - Dec 1, 2020
School Committee Budget Workshop - Recap - Dec 1, 2020

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