Showing posts sorted by relevance for query "state education mandates". Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query "state education mandates". Sort by date Show all posts

Sunday, March 22, 2009


From time to time, particular around the budget period, reference is generally made to Franklin Public Schools having to support "unfunded mandates." I managed to find a listing of such compiled by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees. Over a series of postings, I'll share that listing here.

STATE EDUCATION MANDATES – Partially or Unfunded Requirements

Many laws, initiatives and requirements that may have been well intended, from a multitude of governmental agencies create “un-funded mandates” at the local level. These mandates must be coupled with adequate and sustainable funding sources. Often local mandates required by the state are attributed to federal requirements. The cause and effect of these growing local burdens and links to their funding support are a frustrating source of conflict to state / local harmony and cooperative efforts.

Several years ago the Massachusetts Association of School Business Officers (MASBO) reported on this issue and the points made are incorporated in this document. The MA Association of School Superintendents and MASC have also included items listed below.

General Overview of the General Regulatory Requirements with Cost Implications

The largest legislated program to fund public education, known commonly as the Chapter 70 funding system, does not cover in full the cost of mandates inherent in the law and regulations. The system remains essentially as it was at the start of the Education Reform program in 1993. The reimbursement formula has been modified somewhat and annual funding has increased significantly, but school districts have for many years had to budget for expenses that outstrip both the rate of inflation and the state’s ability to grow state aid to education faster than the cost-of-living for schools.

In addition to funding shortages, some of the mandates that districts must address are:

· Time and Learning standards that required some districts to expand time spent on classroom instruction.

· Curriculum frameworks that have been established in seven areas, requiring new and expanded areas of educational activity.

· Implementing, adhering to, or complying with any one of the 15 assessment, accountability and accreditation systems that were created by Education Reform or imposed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education or the US Department of Education, including No Child Left Behind[1]. Superintendents have estimated that the growth of compliance mandates has expanded ten-fold and one estimate is that every educator in a public school spends as much as 160 hours per year on pure compliance requirements that are not classroom instruction or preparation for teaching.

· The Department of Education has produced a list of 106 reporting requirements (the “checklist”) that are required of superintendents each year.

· Federal regulatory compliance is an added burden as districts fulfill obligations to No Child Left Behind and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

The full listing is available here (DOC)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

"people need to consider how it is going to be paid"

Representative Jeffrey Roy is putting his experience dealing with unfunded mandates to good use.
Drawing from his experience in local government, Roy has co-sponsored a bill to establish a commission to study unfunded mandates imposed on public schools. 
A section in the 1993 education bill was similar to what Roy and other sponsors want - a commission to review and evaluate all legislative requirements related to education and to make recommendations to eliminate or reduce some of the mandates. 
"No commission was ever formed since 1993," Roy said. "We are not asking you to discontinue this practice, what we are asking you to do is study the practice.

Read the full article in the Milford Daily News here

A list of the unfunded mandates required for schools as of 2009 can be found here

The Mass Association of School Committees (MASC) document listing the unfunded mandates is now located here:

Friday, May 21, 2010

So, What Changed???

This is from Bill Glynn, member of the Franklin School Committee:


So, What Changed???

This is a question I am frequently asked in reference to why so many school districts face financial difficulties year after year. A friend of mine from High School recently asked me what is so different now as compared to when we were in school because school financial troubles didn’t seem to be common when we were growing up. So, I spent the next 45 minutes telling her what I have learned about “how the system works and doesn’t work”. School budgets continue to be a problem because of ever-increasing costs. Decreased revenues, such as cuts to local aid (Chapter 70) and a shrinking commercial tax base can hurt too, but increased costs are a huge problem and these costs take many forms. In no specific order, some of the biggest cost issues are:

Labor Costs

Labor unions have significantly increased the compensation package for their members over the past two decades. There are a number of things that comprise the compensation package, including salary, health benefits, pension, etc. Regardless of what you may personally think about the current teacher compensation package, the fact is, compensation packages and their related costs increase at a rate that drives the need to ask for a Proposition 2 ½ override. Prior to Proposition 2 ½, a town could just raise taxes to cover its costs, but now towns are required to ask for an override so people are more aware of the situation.
We want to attract highly-qualified teachers. We want to treat them fairly and we want them to know that they are valued town employees. Franklin does a good job and our teachers are compensated fairly as compared to neighboring towns.

Special Education

All children deserve a quality education; however, not all children can be taught together in the same classroom using the same methodologies. Some children require special education and special education services and programs are expensive. Educating a single child with special needs can cost upwards of 10x the cost of educating a single child in a mainstream program. In addition, the ability to diagnose learning disabilities has also improved, which has increased the number of students that require special education services. It’s also possible that there are some societal and/or environmental factors at work that give rise to learning disabilities. Regardless of the underlying causes, the end result is a large (and increasing) group of special needs students and the cost to educate these students continues to rise.

One of the biggest problems towns face, at least in the short term, is that the special education costs are pushed down to the individual district and are paid out of each town’s education budget. In particular, the special education costs associated with educating students who must be sent out of their home district (because their needs are so specialized) steadily increase outside the control of any individual district. As an example, Franklin has been hit with a $1.3 million increase in special education costs for FY 2011, primarily due to out of district tuition rate increases. Since each town’s education budget is a zero-sum game, the lack of an override means that the students in the mainstream program, who account for approximately 80% of Franklin’s total student population, are unfairly subjected to a $1.3 million budget cut in order to pay for the increased costs in the special education programs.

Remember above when I stated, “All children deserve a quality education”? Well, the current model for special education funding has created a dichotomy between the special education programs and the mainstream program, whereby the special education programs tend to maintain their services at the expense of the mainstream program during times of increased costs and budget cuts. Any time you have multiple distinct groups and you take something away from one group to provide for another group, you undoubtedly have a systemic problem. The special education funding model is is a glaring example of a fundamentally flawed system. The special education laws were created (in part) because it was determined that (in the past) mainstream programs were receiving preferential treatment as compared to special education programs. Now the problem has been inverted and budget constraints are forcing school districts to systematically dismantle their mainstream programs in order to sustain the special education programs. The same state laws that were enacted to provide equity within the education system preclude a balanced approach of equitably distributing budget cuts across the mainstream and special education programs. Consequently, special education programs have basically become immune to budget cuts while mainstream programs are being decimated.
These ever-increasing special education costs have not gone unnoticed. Special education costs, which are highly dynamic in nature (due to changes in student needs and population), cannot be absorbed by individual school districts. At a minimum, the state needs to take direct responsibility for special education costs because the state is better able to absorb these increasing costs by pooling the risk and balancing the costs across hundreds of towns. Work is being done in this area, but as you might imagine, it is not a quick process.

State laws have changed

You may have heard the phrase “unfunded mandate”. This is a term used to refer to state laws imposed upon school districts that have a measurable cost to implement, but the state has not provided any increase in funds to cover the law’s implementation. As an example, Massachusetts recently passed anti-bullying legislation. This is a new law that mandates school districts to do many things, some of which involve training programs, which have an associated cost to implement and will increase each district’s costs. In addition, this new law comes at the same time that Massachusetts has cut the overall education budget and hence has cut each town’s education funding – so all towns have been hit with a double blow of increased costs coupled with decreased revenue.

Technology in the classroom

This topic alone could be an entire article, but suffice it to say that today’s students don’t learn in the same way that students learned a couple of decades ago and so they can’t be effectively taught using yesterday’s methodologies. Children are far more engaged in the learning process when they get their information from digital sources rather than from lectures and textbooks. That’s the way they like it, that’s how they’re growing up, and that’s what works. Therefore, today’s classroom must provide computer and internet access for each student, which requires a lot of computers, software, networking equipment, and increased electricity usage at a minimum. Whereas, yesterday’s classroom needed text books and a blackboard, today’s classroom needs text books, an interactive white board, computers and associated software, as well as fixed and/or wireless network access. So, the classroom has changed and costs have gone up. However, the world has changed and our children will be competing in a global economy and they need to be educated within a 21st century classroom in order to be prepared for college as well as the global workforce.

The aforementioned topics represent big problems and they are mostly beyond the control of local officials. However, there is hope. These problems are being discussed by cities and towns throughout Massachusetts. Here in Franklin, we’re working on some of these issues with our state legislators and other groups, but there is no quick fix. It’s very important that we all have a common understanding of the root cause of our biggest problems so that we can try to work through them together. While it’s tempting to point at specific issues and propose remedies, it’s critical that we all realize that Massachusetts state laws restrict what an individual town can and cannot do. This leaves us with two unpalatable options: pay more in local taxes to sustain our vital town services and education system or continue to dismantle the quality of life in our town and jeopardize our children’s future by voting down Proposition 2 ½ overrides based upon the unattainable desire to effect changes in places that are outside the control of individual towns.


You can respond to Bill directly, or comment here.

Franklin, MA

Monday, March 30, 2009

State Education Mandates - Part 9

From time to time, particular around the budget period, reference is generally made to Franklin Public Schools having to support "unfunded mandates." I managed to find a listing of such compiled by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees. This is Part 9 of the series:


Professional Development - with the enactment of Education Reform, all teachers and other professional staff must be re-certified every five years. The district must provide professional development required for re-certification, with no cost to the individual employee.

Highly Qualified Staff – this requirement is a mandate that ensures employment of and reporting on highly qualified staff members and requires a substantial investment of time and money at all school levels. In many cases, there is insufficient guidance for districts that enables administrators to assist teachers and professional staff to meet the requirements established by DESE. (For example, appropriate licensure and completion of a designated number of courses is required for teaching assignments for which licensure may not exist at this time.)

Foster Care & State Wards

Districts are required to educate students who have been placed by the state in foster care and state ward settings. If a student has special needs, the town is responsible for that student’s education, even if the student is enrolled in a day or residential school that is not in town.

• Districts are also responsible for the transportation for the student. However, the local district is only responsible for regular day/vocational education of these pupils. When that student requires special education, which cost can be billed back to the district from which the student came.

Grant Percentages of Federal Grant Funds to Private Schools

School districts are required to give a percentage of grants funded under the No Child Left Behind Act to all private schools whether or not our students attend the schools. The percentage is based on total school and district populations. The district must provide reading services from its Title I grant to all schools within the state that our students attend if the schools meet certain criteria.
The full listing is available here (DOC)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Budget - Override Collection - FY 2011

The following links provide access to information on the budget for Fiscal Year 2011

Additional items will be added here as they are found/prepared.
If you are looking for something in particular regarding the budget and don't find it, please let me know.

Now what?

Letter from Ed Cafasso

Joint Statement on Override - June 8th

Scott Mason Interview on the whole gamut of topics around the vote on June 8th

Town Fiscal Year 2011 Budget document and cover letter

Budget Workshop (held Jan 25, 2010) to prepare for the budget

Finance Committee budget hearings
May 4th
May 6th
May 10th

Town Forum at Horace Mann School Auditorium (video)

Town Council budget hearings
June 9th - meeting notes can be found here
June 10th

Franklin budget for FY 2010

Franklin budget documents for years prior to 2010

Financial audit reports for Fiscal Years 2008 and 2009

School Department/School Committee budget book (PDF)

School Department proposed cuts to the level service budget (assuming override does not pass)

School Committee override page

Schools presentation on budget and need for override

Financial Planning Committee report (long term plan) and documents

A series of posts on State Education Mandates (unfunded mandates)

Invest in Franklin:

The June 8th Special Election Flyer can be found here

The forums and events calendar to hear and discuss information on the Special Election June 8th can be found here

Franklin's override and debt exclusion history

Frequently Asked Questions

Significant comment discussion is also found in these articles on the Milford Daily News website

Franklin, MA

Monday, March 23, 2009

State Education Mandates - Part 2

From time to time, particular around the budget period, reference is generally made to Franklin Public Schools having to support "unfunded mandates." I managed to find a listing of such compiled by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees. This is Part 2 in the series:

Massachusetts superintendents. School committee members and school business officers have compiled a partial list of mandates that are listed below:

Regular Education

Provide free and equal (and appropriate) education to all students from kindergarten through grade 12. We believe that Chapter 70 is underfunded by about $1.6 billion that would be required to provide necessary and mandated services.

Special Education

Districts must provide education to special education students from age three to age twenty-two. This must be done in the least restrictive environment.

The cost of providing assessments, evaluations, and specialized instructional services exceeds the funding provided by federal and state sources. In addition, non-instructional services within the review and appeal processes such as arbitration, mediation, and hearings result in extraordinary costs to the district. The personnel, administrative, and technology costs inherent in the delivery of appropriate services are exorbitant. Individual Education Plans dictate where a student must go to school, requiring outplacements and special education transportation.

Special Education Transportation

Currently, about $165 million in mandated but unreimbursed transportation costs are incurred by school districts for students in special education programs.

“504 Services” For Physically Disabled Students

School districts are required to provide students with disabilities with accommodations that will assist in their learning according to federal law. This may include any disability that is not covered by special education. Teachers must accommodate all needs written into a student’s “504 plan.” State and local options are constrained.

The full listing is available here (DOC)

Part 1 is here

Saturday, March 28, 2009

State Education Mandates - Part 7

From time to time, particular around the budget period, reference is generally made to Franklin Public Schools having to support "unfunded mandates." I managed to find a listing of such compiled by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees. This is part 7 of the series:


Residency waivers and concerns arising from private entities such as sports boarding facilities within district boundaries and the implications of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Act impact district budgets (also see above). Sports boarding camps attract players from various towns, states and countries. Local districts are required to educate said students without regard to tuition payments because residency statutes state that if a student is not at such a facility “solely for the purpose of education,” they are allowed to attend at no cost to the student.

• Residency also becomes an issue when a residential special education institution is located in a Massachusetts community. Students admitted to that institution sometimes attract the family, or a guardian member of the family, to relocate to the community for purposes of being closer to the resident student. This includes formerly out of state as well as in-state residency shifts and families with multiple residents. Such shifts determine assignment of costs to the host resident community.

• While there is local control on the admission to kindergarten there is a great deal of differentiation of starting age. Under choice students may be entered into a district at an earlier age and then require placement at the resident school district.

Vocational Education

School districts allow students to attend out-of-district vocational schools when programs are not offered in the regional district to which the local district belongs. Unlike the Charter School Reimbursement, there is no apparent reimbursement for vocational placement, though the vocational student, like the charter student, is counted in the Foundation Budget of the sending district. In addition, school districts are required to transport these secondary students to the schools of their choice. There is only partial (up to 50%) reimbursement for vocational education transportation.
The full listing is available here (DOC)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

"reduce the mountainous regulatory obligations"

It's about time! The Milford Daily News reports on a new proposal to address the unfunded mandates that school districts are forced to implement. The focus of the article is on Framingham and doesn't reference Franklin. However, this has long been a complaint of the School Committee and district officials here so I am sure that Franklin will be following this closely.
"We need relief," said Framingham School Committee Chairwoman Beverly Hugo, who wrote the original draft and testified at Thursday's public hearing. "Some of these (mandates) are redundant or duplicative." 
While some of the requirements - which in recent years have been introduced to address bullying, teacher evaluations, and school nutrition, among other issues - may be necessary to some degree, she added, "there's no analysis that shows whether these reports (submitted by schools) improve student achievement or services to children in the classroom." 
What is known, Hugo said, is the cost to districts to fill out thousands of pages of paperwork that are required by the mandates. Framingham, for instance, had to hire several vice principals in recent years to keep up with the greater workloads created by the state's new teacher evaluation system.

Read more:

Related posts:

Earlier this month "Area school officials are concerned the mandates, including a new teacher evaluation system, additional training to educate English Language Learners (ELL) and new fingerprinting requirements, are too much, too soon."
Reporting on truancy was touted in 2012

A listing of state unfunded mandates posted in 2010

Reporting on bullying was added in 2009

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Rep Roy: July newsletter: What's happening in the district

This is our regularly monthly newsletter. If you know anyone who may be interested in receiving this newsletter, please forward a copy of it to them. If you are not yet a subscriber, you can get on our email list by clicking here. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook by clicking the buttons below.
Email not displaying correctly?
View it in your browser.
Follow on Twitter Friend of Facebook

Unfunded mandate topic reaches Hill

There was a full house on hand at a recent Education Committee hearing on accountability and unfunded mandates. Over 80 Superintendents from across the state appeared to give testimony and provide support for the bills.

Among the bills was one to establish a commission to study regulations and unfunded mandates on schools, which Rep. Roy has co-sponsored. This was always a hot topic for Rep. Roy while a member of Franklin's School Committee and now he has an opportunity to address it on Beacon Hill. To view the complete text of the bill and view its progress, click here.

Briefly the bill charges the task force to (i) identify and review all existing mandates imposed on school districts by state law or regulation, including school and district reporting requirements; (ii) determine the costs of such mandates and reporting requirements to school districts; and (iii) identify opportunities to streamline, consolidate, or eliminate such mandates or reporting requirements that are duplicative or inconsistent with current laws, regulations or practices.

At the hearing, a great deal of information and testimony provided. To view some of the materials, click here

Treasurer tours new FHS

At the invitation of Rep. Roy, State Treasurer Steve Grossman joined us on a tour of the new Franklin High School in June. As the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts School Building Authority, he was seeking an in-person view of the state's largest model school.

During the tour, we were joined by members of the Town Council, School Committee, School Building Committee, and school administrators. Treasurer Grossman was very impressed with the quality of the facility and programming that will be offered at the new FHS, and he is looking forward to returning soon.

For pictures from the tour, please click here. To view the Milford Daily News report on the visit, click here. Follow the construction of the new FHS on Facebook by clicking here.

New memorial honors Franklin soldier

There is a wonderful new memorial in Franklin thanks to the artwork of Jesse Greene and the generosity of Jody Cipriano Cabino. Last month, the memorial was unveiled at the YMCA in Franklin and Rep. Roy was honored to participate and present House citations to Jody and Jesse.

The memorial is a place of remembrance and reflection for Shayne Cabino, a Franklin soldier who answered the call of duty and served in harm's way for the sake of this country. It will also serve as a place where Y kids will start their day with the Pledge of Allegiance, to promote both civic awareness and patriotism.  

Pan Mass Challenge

On August 3-4, Rep. Roy will join thousands of cyclists in the Pan Mass Challenge in the fight against cancer. This will be Jeff's 11th ride. The PMC, which began in 1980, is the nation's oldest and most successful bicycling fundraising event and shows what the determination of each individual can do.

The event has been instrumental in helping Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's clinicians and researchers learn more about cancer and its causes, and to develop new, increasingly effective treatments for this deadly disease. Over the past 33 years, PMC cyclists have ridden to raise and contribute $375 million to cancer research.

To learn more about the ride and donate to the cause, click here.

Horace Mann leaders bring ideas to Boston

Last month, we had a great visit with leaders from Horace Mann Middle School in Franklin. They were recognized public service announcement projects they produced, focused on helping others.

They were an impressive group of 8th graders and did some inspiring work which no doubt will continue when they get to high school.

Budget sent to Governor

Rep. Roy joined his colleagues in the Legislature to enact a $34.06 billion state budget for fiscal year 2014 (FY14). The spending plan makes important investments to rebuild the Commonwealth's essential services and programs, including local aid, education, housing, public safety, and health and human services, and supports the ongoing recovery of the local economy. It is now on the Governor'[s desk for his signature.
The budget reflects the priorities of the Commonwealth and the needs of cities, towns and residents, while also maintaining the highest level of fiscal responsibility and accountability, leaving the state's rainy day fund at $1.46 billion. It makes important and thoughtful investments in many of our core services and programs in the Commonwealth, including education, care for the elderly, housing, distressed hospitals and mental health
The budget also includes a renewed focus on governmental oversight and accountability to eliminate fraud and delays and to ensure that those who need the Commonwealth's assistance receive it. 
Locally, the FY14 budget also includes a $20,000 grant for Franklin's sculpture park and $15,000 to help fund the Vietnam Moving Wall in Medway.

You can see more details about the budget by clicking here.

Medway Cheerleading Champs Honored

Medway's two time National Varsity Championship Cheerleaders were honored at the State House. They also took a tour of the building, including a trip to the Governor's office, the House Chamber, and the Senate Chamber.

"It was great to see such an engaged group of students from Medway High School," noted Rep. Roy. "We had some great discussions about what we do in the State House and had a lively conversation on pending legislation. The girls shared their thoughts about a number of bills, including ones on cheerleader safety and the recognition of cheerleading as a sport."

Congratulations to the Medway girls and we wish you luck next year.

New website features and improvements announced

Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) and House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop) announced  updates to the public website that will allow users to personalize their experience when navigating bills, committees, hearing information and connecting with legislators.

Through "MyLegislature," users can create a user-id and password to access their secure MyLegislature account. Users can identify specific bills, hearings, committees and legislators that they are interested in following and their personalized homepage will display each selection. Any hearings scheduled for their selected committees will automatically be included in their MyLegislature hearing list. In addition, users can further personalize MyLegislature by identifying any accessibility needs.
The updated website also includes an easy-to-use format to connect with legislators. The public website can be found at

July office hours

Rep. Roy announced that constituent office hours for the month of July will be held on the following days:

Franklin – Saturday, July 20th, 10:00-11:00AM,
Franklin Public Library – 18 Main Street Franklin, MA

Medway – Saturday, July 27th, 10:00-11:00AM,
Gaetano's Bakery – 74 Main Street Medway, MA

All office hours are open to anyone with questions or concerns that they wish to bring to his attention.  Walk-ins are welcome and no appointments are necessary. 
He also invites all constituents to call him at his State House office at (617) 722-2400, stop by Room 134 in the State House, or email him by clicking here.

Copyright © 2013 State Rep Jeff Roy, All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you either contacted our office or indicated you wanted to keep updated on the 10th Norfolk District and things going on at the State House.
Our mailing address is:
State Rep Jeff Roy
State House
Boston, MA 02133

Add us to your address book
Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp

Sunday, March 24, 2019

“We only have so much money regardless of where we land”

In the School Committee Legislative Forum, much discussion was on the reforms to the state's education funding process. Given the major hearing on Friday, the legislature is showing that the issue will be addressed. What the resolution will be remains to be seen. 

The Boston Globe report on the school funding hearing held Friday, March 22
"In this year’s first major hearing in the debate over education funding on Beacon Hill, dozens of mayors, teachers, school officials, and even a quartet of New England Patriots players urged lawmakers to boost aid to urban districts struggling with growing populations of high-need students and steep budget cuts. 
Brockton School Superintendent Kathleen A. Smith captured the argument of those demanding an overhaul of the state’s school funding formula, telling lawmakers that her city in 2017 spent just $1 on supplies per student, while wealthy Weston spent $275 per pupil. 
“I am saddened and dismayed that after five years of coming before you more than a dozen times to advocate for our neediest students, I am once again asking you to act and update a 25-year-old funding formula that is broken and no longer serves the needs of the increasingly diverse student population in our Commonwealth,” Smith, whose district has been contemplating a lawsuit over school funding, told members of the Legislature’s joint committee on education during a packed hearing Friday."

Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Milford Daily News also has an article on the hearing

My notes from the Legislative Forum held on Feb 5, 2019 can be found

Angelica DaSilva of Dorchester (right) attended a packed education hearing at the State House’s Gardner Auditorium. (DAVID L. RYAN/GLOBE STAFF)
Angelica DaSilva of Dorchester (right) attended a packed education hearing at the State House’s Gardner Auditorium. (DAVID L. RYAN/GLOBE STAFF)

Unfunded Mandates are also a cause of concern for school and local budgets. A bill currently filed would increase steps to test for lead in school drinking water.

"Lawmakers on Beacon Hill are pushing legislation aimed at improving the safety of drinking water in schools in part by requiring schools and child care centers to test every drinking water outlet each year for elevated lead levels. 
Legislation on tap in the Massachusetts House and Senate would force schools to immediately shut off drinking water outlets that show elevated lead levels. The water outlet could be turned on only after it has produced at least two sets of certified test results showing no elevated lead levels."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Live reporting: School Committee - Feb 10, 2015

Present: O'Malley, Rohrbach, Clement, Mullen, Trahan, 
Absent: Douglas, Jewell

1. Routine Business
Citizen’s Comments

Review of Agenda
conflict with calendar and FEA contract so it is being removed from the agenda

Minutes: I recommend approval of the minutes from the January 13, 2015 School Committee Meeting.
motion to approve, seconded, pass 5-0

Payment of Bills Mr. Clement
motion to approve, seconded, pass 5-0

Payroll Mrs. Douglas

FHS Student Representatives
input from 860 students, choice of blue or white robes decided by majority
students making best of the parking situation
willing to work with administration and school to keep on going

murmuring about April vacation in jeopardy yet

School calendar being looked at, no decision yet
so much and in short a period of time, it may be discussed soon

Correspondence: Budget to Actual – Miriam Goodman

2. Guests/Presentations
a. Senator Karen Spilka, Senator Richard Ross and Representative Jeffrey Roy

Sen Spilka, thanks for inviting us here
has been a little quiet with all the snow
House in session Weds, Senate in session on Thursday

budget gap being discussed, action this week to let the agencies deal with the cuts and get on with the planning and implementation

Gov Patrick did 198M in Section 9C cuts
had asked for other items to be acted upon; waited for the new Governor to come in before acting

Gov Baker updated to add 1488M in Sec 9C cuts

have protected local and and Chapter 70; don't want to cut local aid now with so little time left in the year

Mass Health benefits being looked to cut, Sen Spilka says they are not going to do that
they want to get the actions approved this week and get on with the next fiscal year budget

The ore you get into the estimates, it is really a best guess estimate
forecasting a growth of 4.8%
income tax could go down again, possible trigger for next year as well

money from operations to fund the stabilization fund is needed
it is down significantly from where it peaked but it helped the State weather the recession

Senator Ross - congratulations to Sen Spilka on Chairing the Ways And Means committee
4.8% is not much to work with, not much new revenue coming down the pike
storms stressing the 'free cash' that could be used

Franklin has done a tremendous job, compared to where he has traveled, it is a pleasure to be moving through Franklin.

Feel free to call us if you have any concerns

Rep Roy - congratulations to Sen Spilka on Chairing the Ways and Means Committee
it is good to be here, it is little odd sitting on this side

the good news I would like to share, MA continues to be #1 in the US for education
MA is not complacent with being #1
Associated Industries of MA (AIM)
number one issue is education, need it to keep pace with what is going on in the world

legislation coming up for Common Core and PARCC
discussion coming, it is important for us to know
53% of MA has chosen to go with PARCC
the DESE will not be making their decision until Nov/Dec
participate in the dialog, share your experiences

appointed a foundation budget review commission
Sen Spilka sits at the commission
can submit written testimony, committee slated to submit report in June

unfunded mandates will be addressed by the Legislation
button = "I don't teach anymore I am too busy complying with mandates"

legislation coming on regulations around student data privacy

manufacturing round table at Tri-County
attempting to reintroduce manufacturing there

coordinate the budget with Spilka and Ross

reference to snow globe gift

ready willing and able to answer any questions you may have

O'Malley - I am proud to have you represent us
I do have a problem with the legislature
mandates - let's go to one for example
the circuit breaker was going to help the budget
yet everyone has been looking at it to cut
it is so important for us to know where funding is coming from

Ross - one thing that tends to get ignored is the special education cost
parents will travel to those towns to get those services
those towns get crippled by the real costs

Spilka - I was the Senator to file the item to fully fund the circuit breaker
I actually re-filed a bill to increase the amount that the state reimburses
we will do the very best we can; even fully funded,it doesn't go as far as it should

I am hoping we can increase it, the recognition that school districts are supporting more of this cost, the Federal government can't get off the hook either; need to ask them to fulfill their obligations

Roy - there is universal support for the circuit breaker; but then there is a budget deficit and how do you find the money among the competing wishes, needs and demands?

We will need to fund the transportation infrastructure, you have seen how it failed us

O'Malley - our group has done well but the State has not done as well
There should have been a clearly chartered educational plan, why are the school committees asked to vote at a late date on PARCC vs. MCAS; 53% have chosen one way and that is not good. Where are we? Can we not come together and head in one directions?

Roy - I think you will see that a lot of folks sitting down to talk about going to common core in 2010, the plan has been a number of years in the making, times have changed, technology has changed, we are looking at improvement. it was the decision of the Education commissioner to let the school committee decide for themselves. The decision will be made in Nov/Dec

Ross - MA was the model upon which others have been basing their plan. It frustrating to see the plan dumbing down what we have done

Roy - in 1994, when standards and frameworks were being introduced, it was called common core. MA got away from the name but it has come back around. We are not competing with kids down the street for jobs we are competing with kids from other countries

O'Malley - when we marched out the gate with PARCC as our banner, we had 48 states and we have 11 now, this is not progress. We can't go forward with the numbers like this.

Spilka - we don't have the final say in that decision, we can share our experiences, we don't know what their thoughts are; we have some control via the budget and these are issues we fight for every day. If there are specific problems that Franklin is having, let us know so we can try to help.

Rohrbach - thank you, we appreciate it. we do appreciate the amount of state aid that we do receive. 2 questions on unfunded mandates.  Those mandates take away from the financial resources that allow us to deliver to our students. On the foundation budget, you are trying to protect that; do you know how it will change?

Ross - it is pleasing to see that the commission has been set up to do the work we need this year. 

Spilka - I don't think the results will be in for the FY 16 budget, there may be pieces that we can build upon. Just because it is not finished doesn;t mean we can't do anything with it, we'll see. I ran for this seat to change the education formula and make it more fair. It is simpler but adequacy is still something to be worked on. We realize we need to invest in our education. This is our natural resource. We do have competing interests, we have higher ed, mental health, seniors, veterans, etc.  If you could give us a list of the issues you have with unfunded mandates

Roy - we had a discussion recently about the bill to sterilize mouth pieces of musical instruments. Any cost is borne by the parent currently, and that was the cost avoided. I am confident that the three of us are going to be leading the charge to manage unfunded mandates

Clement - we have hedged our bets with PARCC and computer based testing, I shouldn't have to use gambling terms to talk about this item. All of the speakers were talking about special education. Some of the costs of IEPs are fully education budget yet some of them are really health issues. The implication is that the real item is the person happens to be of school age.

Roy - that is recognized.

Ross - some of the diagnosis is perhaps a transfer or educational issue; for example language based issues, example of two children identified, one was off the program by 6th grade, one caught earlier was off by 3rd grade. That is what special education needs to do. 351 communities is not the way to design a delivery system of equitable delivery. Not everyone will be happy. 

Clement - tweeking it is fine in theory, a child is in 4th grade once, if they don't pick it up then, we have lost the opportunity. You have said 4.8% growth is not easy to work with, you shoudl try working with 2.5%.

Winslow - thanks for working with us, strong advocates for Best Buddies, 

Spilka- it would make Franklin the first district in the state that would have a program across the educational spans. We are also working with Dean and that would be wonderful to see.