Thursday, December 16, 2021

Recap: School Committee Budget Workshop - all around the starting point for understanding the costs and drivers

Quick Recap:
  • The budget workshop doc is rich with with links to supporting material. Each of the links was opened and info it contained talked of, clarification questions asked and answered. In one instance, there was a slightly different slice of data requested and it can be prepared.
  • Of all the info shared, this budget workshop doc should be the basis for your dive into the information. This gets to the basic DESE categories, Chapter 70 funding, etc. The list goes on.
  • Of note, a presentation is scheduled for a January meeting of the full committee on Special Education. I anticipate (based on prior views), this will go into more specifics on the overall programs and the in-house programs where the District saves money by providing the services here rather then sending out of District. At a minimum, it avoids the transportation cost. This is not something that can be done to provide all services, some for the number of students required is still better served by an outside resource


As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter while I attended the meeting in the 3rd Floor Training Room. 
The Twitter hashtag #schcommbudget1214  can be found online The thread begins with 
  • #schcommbudget1214 budget workshop opens, being recorded so if the gremlins are held at bay, the recording will be available later this week.
  • Miriam Goodman, Business Manager for FPS provides an overview of the budget process. meeting agenda for this session ->  #schcommbudget1214 
  • Q on negotiation, how does it affect timeline if it does? We put a placeholder in for what we may expect required to keep the timeline #schcommbudget1214 
  • comment on substitute pricing to be more competitive; comment on common planning time (time is money)
  • Q - to be address along way, how do we get programs previously cut back? Comment on SEL supports for students, retaining what we have and possible expansion; #schcommbudget1214 what tech can we add to help prepare students for workplace?
  • #schcommbudget1214 how to appropriately address learning loss due to pandemic (i.e. with tutors) comment on staff and student well being is a common thread being heard by cmte; amount of physical activity for FHS students; DEI cmte motivated; budget impact
  • relook at support processes, Tier 1 used to be primary focus but there are other needs along the tier calling for help too; comment on 'boots on the ground' interventionists, both MS and ES #schcommbudget1214 these SchComm requests are aligned with principals, etc. feedback
  • a special ed presentation coming in Jan 2022 for #SchCommbudget1214 to help understanding and budget prep; fees were increased in 2020 and first time since 2008; MA Supt spreadsheet does provide 'some' info from other districts for comparisons
  • Q on clubs and activities; reduced offerings due to pandemic but overall they have grown in breadth and participation; it varies among elem, middle and FHS; #schcommbudget1214 principals monitor participation to ensure an appropriate offering for school
  • can pull report together to determine offerings and participation; some were reduce for lack of participation, some combined to improve offering #schcommbudget1214 some clubs are not supported by stipend; aside - NHS has 115 students; some fund raising for clubs
  • Portrait of a Graduate is kept in mind as budget is developed; see link to budget doc; 85% is salaries/benefits ... #schcommbudget1214 DESE counts 11 categories for the foundation budget; amt of revolving funds and grants/offsets included in pages of budget summary
  • once through the Exec Summary doc, then the budget breaks down by school (according to the level of DESE codes) #schcommbudget1214 there are unbudgeted donations, via PCC's, FEF, etc.  details in packet; the concession stand donation helped to drive the 2019; ....
  • District Analysis Resource Tool (DART) helpful info to do further drill down research on comparable districts for specific categories, etc. #schcommbudget1214 also a link for charter school finance; currently 372 student enrolled; most funding is handled by Town side/via State
  • if charter school were to expand to high school, it would be a charter change with local impact statements and DESE decision; a planning process; but not on the known horizon #schcommbudget1214 could we survey charter families to see why? has been considered but not …
  • a priority; a portion say the language offering is a factor; #schcommbudget1214 not at this time but likely many over the months to come; adjourn here, go to next meeting
 Audio recording of meeting to be available in couple of days 

Recap: School Committee Budget Workshop
Recap: School Committee Budget Workshop

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