Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Recap: Finance Committee approves FY 2022 budget as proposed

Quick Recap:
  • Last of the 4 budget hearings scheduled for Finance Committee to preview the FY 2022 budget before the Town Council gets it later this month. Generally good questions asked, answers received, not always telling complete story that should be told
  • What should you know? Schools get almost 50% of their budget from State Chap 70 funding which is about $11M more than we should under the revised Student Opportunity Act. The Town participation in school funding is expected to increase over the next several years (at least until the excess 11M is reduced). "This dynamic is the future decade for Franklin."
  • So forget about OPEB (there is a plan to resolve it) The largest issues on the town front on the school budget and stormwater funding. If we don't fix the stormwater funding (first), the school issue will become more severe (and nevermind how they determine to redistrict, the issue is here - redistricting is not going to save that much money)
  • Funny how all the parents upset about possible school budget cuts have disappeared from meeting participation. They should be paying attention now. 
  • Only one vote by FinCom to approve the whole general fund and enterprise accounts to pass along to the Town Council who are scheduled to do their cursory review on May 26-27.

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  #fincom0504

Photos captured during the meeting and shared via Twitter can be found in one album

The agenda for this meeting can be found

  • Last of the 4 #FinCom0504 budget hearings coming up at 6:30 PM - this one features, the three school budgets; Franklin K-12, Tri-County, and Norfolk Aggie. Then the FinCom gets down to voting to approve/adjust as they see fit. What will it be? Follow and find out
  • The agenda for the #fincom0504 meeting, includes connection info (via Zoom) - meeting also available via Verizon/Comcast cable and live stream from http://Franklin.TV
  • Meeting opens #fincom0504
  • Starting with coverage of the tri-county and Norfolk Aggie budgets with line item coverage, an assessment beaded up Franklin student enrollment in those institutions. #fincom0504. Follow along with and next link ->
  • Schools budget doc to follow along #fincom0504 Schools did adjust budget by $700k+ to meet town allocation by prepaying some accounts
  • Trend of lower enrollment due to COVID not like other communities, less here, more there. Still on downward trend in elementary overall. Watching carefully for fall #fincom0504 graduation 400+ incoming class size more 300 odd
  • Q the out of district tuition? How flat if an increase expected? Some students aging out which reduces but the rate is increase so there is an offset. Prepay will eventually create a "cliff" but not there yet, MA laws allow for prepay in private placements #fincom0504
  • Students supported by law through age up to 22. If we can provide enough service in district, then we need to go out. About 80-85 students in out of district. #fincom0504 internet upgrade to support remote learning, most of increase is for 10G line as well as split ->
  • Of cyber security share with town side, as previously discussed. Anticipating that the state will not allow full remote learning come fall so no increase anticipated there #fincom0504
  • Q on additional staff at central office, one person spot adding in replacement of Dr Edwards, her slot will support both as well, offset of some of the stipends previously used #fincom0504 curriculum development focus, reporting to Lucas Giguere
  • Redistricting study is a continuation of the facilities plan, how should we use space in the district. The prior studies were done pre-pandemic. To develop a road map of what to do and when. #fincom0504 do you have any reserves aside from revolving funds?
  • Do not have stabilization fund! Do use the revolving funds as necessary but the policy is usually for a year on hand. This avoids the check in, check out process. Lifelong learning is one key area visible and impacted by revolving funds. #fincom0504
  • They do adjust yearly. These are all meant to be self supporting programs. Buses, sports, lifelong learning, etc. Q how has declined ridership affect busing expense? #fincom0504 adjusted contract with vendor to run fewer buses riders down about 1/3, usually about 3000 students
  • Saw savings in contract but lost revenue more than the savings #fincom0504 did end up with revolving funds worth more than the one year policy requirements. FTE is calculated at working the 35 hours. Teachers don't get paid hourly, they're paid over the 180 days
  • Q refresh on circuit breaker? State sets a threshold, and if we pay more than the state can reimburse the excess portion at about 75% #fincom0504 student opportunity act is not beneficial to use compared to others, we are a minimum aid Community
  • We receive $11m excess (2nd only to Boston) and until that 11 decreases we won't get much more. We do anticipate get help with circuit breaker and transportation but not from per pupil (only $30/year). Town contribution will increase from 71% over next several years
  • No major increase in chap 70, generally flat. State funding for schools is approx 50% of what they have. #fincom0504 "this dynamic is the future decade for Franklin".
  • One vote on all general and enterprise fund budgets motion made, seconded passes 9-0 #fincom0504 Adjournment, seconded approved 9-0 And in case you missed it, there was no allowance for any Community comments during the discussions
  • That's all for tonight, catch you next time - Three meetings back to back on Weds 5/5/21, Board of Health, capital budget Subcommittee, and Town Council. Agendas posted on Town and pages #fincom0504


Recap: Finance Committee approves FY 2022 budget as proposed
Recap: Finance Committee approves FY 2022 budget as proposed

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