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Thread: Our School "Reconfiguration"

  1. #136
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jen Kipp View Post
    A few days ago I posted to this board looking for some direction. There were several issues raised at the school meeting on September 15th and I was unclear on which group, the School Committee or the Administration, is responsible for planning, expense savings, what the plan is to fix the issues and the timeline to get them resolved. Does anyone know which group is responsible for each of these fundamental components of the plan?
    The list of items is here. For the most part, these items are the responsibility of the Administration, which is not to say that the Committee might not weigh in. Two items that fall more directly to the Committee are communication and the decision to go to full day Kindergarten.

  2. #137
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Grasso View Post
    Piling on to this particular statement...

    Here is one observation in particular to the situation my wife and I realized this year with our kindergarten-age son: the K BASE program itself is more expensive than private full-day (9-3) kindergarten -- with 20 students and 2 teachers, and with lunch, snacks, and full teacher coverage at the center from 7:30 AM to 6 PM. To repeat, the K BASE program is more expensive than that. That is simply ridiculous. We don't have experience with BASE for older students so I can't comment on it. I do hope that it is more reasonable, though.

    I realize that BASE is outside the scope of the SC and this thread in particular, but for families with two working parents it is the reality we have to accept. To expand the opportunities for parents Wayland should look at the example of other towns like Natick and Sudbury that offer after-school programs with busing (also play-based enrichment) at the Longfellow Clubs in Natick and...Wayland.
    I have copied this post, and moved all subsequent related ones to this thread about Full Day K.

  3. #138
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    The reconfiguration duties of the administration is in result of the decision made by the SC. For example, the SC decided to move to the 2 1/2 school model....then backed away and handed the administration all the logistics of the transfer.
    It seems to me both parties are responsible for the safety issues and overcrowding that have come up in our elementary schools. The SC wanted it, the administration had to deal with it!

  4. #139
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    Default The problems with transition

    When does the SC think its time to step in and say that a majority of these problems should have been foreseen and that the current administration has not done a good job with this transition?

    Or a more basic question would be do you as a member of the School Committee feel that the administation did the best job they could with this transition?

  5. #140
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexia Obar View Post
    When does the SC think its time to step in and say that a majority of these problems should have been foreseen and that the current administration has not done a good job with this transition?

    Or a more basic question would be do you as a member of the School Committee feel that the administation did the best job they could with this transition?
    This is a good question, Alexia.
    I would like to know the answer.

    .
    John Flaherty

    Any views expressed are NOT mine alone.
    Wayland Transparency - Facts Without Spin
    http://www.waylandtransparency.com/

  6. #141
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    Default show me the money

    This question has been asked several times here and at SC meetings since the beginning of the FY 09 and a specific answer is yet forthcoming: how much money has been saved to-date on the Loker closure (see attached link, line 32 for semantic usage), and specifically where have these savings been realized? It appears that the figure has gone from $395K last March to $300K last April to as high as $500K over the summer, but we seem to be settling back to $300K (even though it was stated that the administration was $60K ahead of that target in September), as per the link attached to the lastest SOS mailing in regards to Ad Hoc budget savings realized and recommended.

    Here's the link -- again note Line 32:

    http://www.wayland.ma.us/selectmen/F...vesResults.pdf

    Since these savings are now classified as "results", they should be easily identified, correct? How would one go about seeing these results? I'm loathe to disrespect our administrators' time but I think it's a pretty important item that has been assumed as fact rather than fully vetted.

  7. #142
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Grasso View Post
    This question has been asked several times here and at SC meetings since the beginning of the FY 09 and a specific answer is yet forthcoming: how much money has been saved to-date on the Loker closure (see attached link, line 32 for semantic usage), and specifically where have these savings been realized? It appears that the figure has gone from $395K last March to $300K last April to as high as $500K over the summer, but we seem to be settling back to $300K (even though it was stated that the administration was $60K ahead of that target in September), as per the link attached to the lastest SOS mailing in regards to Ad Hoc budget savings realized and recommended.

    Here's the link -- again note Line 32:

    http://www.wayland.ma.us/selectmen/F...vesResults.pdf

    Since these savings are now classified as "results", they should be easily identified, correct? How would one go about seeing these results? I'm loathe to disrespect our administrators' time but I think it's a pretty important item that has been assumed as fact rather than fully vetted.
    The $300k number in the report cited above is not one provided by the School Committee. At last night's meeting (Monday 11/3), the Committee discussed the reconfiguration personnel cost savings, whose estimate currently stands as follows.

    • Principal: $112,650
    • 12-month secretary: $41,016
    • Elementary teacher: $52,872
    • Elementary teacher: $99,456
    • Kindergarten teacher (0.65 FTE): $35,824
    • Kindergarten teaching assistant (17.5 hours): $13,643
    • Librarian: $55,114
    • Music teacher (0.5 FTE): $22,704
    • Guidance counselor (0.5 FTE): $47,228
    • Teaching assistants (2): $43,616
    • Custodian: $35,266
    • MCAS stipend (1): $1,963
    • SPED team leader stipend (1): $3,477
    • Student activity stipends (4): $5,892
    • Crossing guard and nursing (municipal budget): $39,000
    • Health insurance (municipal budget): $68,000
    • TOTAL: $673,121
    The transportation cost difference will not be known until the end of the school year in part due to uncertainty in fuel prices. At present, the schools have one additional noon Kindergarten run above last year's approximately 20 morning and 20 afternoon runs. The budget book amount for transportation in the current school year is $637,473, so the expected difference should not be large relative to the $673k savings above.

    Summer moving expenses and other non-personnel expenses have not been estimated, but these should be smaller than the transportation amount.

    The Committee will update this analysis as additional information becomes available.

  8. #143
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    The $300k number in the report cited above is not one provided by the School Committee. At last night's meeting (Monday 11/3), the Committee discussed the reconfiguration personnel cost savings, whose estimate currently stands as follows.

    • Principal: $112,650
    • 12-month secretary: $41,016
    • Elementary teacher: $52,872
    • Elementary teacher: $99,456
    • Kindergarten teacher (0.65 FTE): $35,824
    • Kindergarten teaching assistant (17.5 hours): $13,643
    • Librarian: $55,114
    • Music teacher (0.5 FTE): $22,704
    • Guidance counselor (0.5 FTE): $47,228
    • Teaching assistants (2): $43,616
    • Custodian: $35,266
    • MCAS stipend (1): $1,963
    • SPED team leader stipend (1): $3,477
    • Student activity stipends (4): $5,892
    • Crossing guard and nursing (municipal budget): $39,000
    • Health insurance (municipal budget): $68,000
    • TOTAL: $673,121
    The transportation cost difference will not be known until the end of the school year in part due to uncertainty in fuel prices. At present, the schools have one additional noon Kindergarten run above last year's approximately 20 morning and 20 afternoon runs. The budget book amount for transportation in the current school year is $637,473, so the expected difference should not be large relative to the $673k savings above.

    Summer moving expenses and other non-personnel expenses have not been estimated, but these should be smaller than the transportation amount.

    The Committee will update this analysis as additional information becomes available.
    Thanks Jeff. I look forward to this being made more fully available (in a more analytical format) with a comparison to the actual expenses of the Loker School in FY 08 and 07. Am I correct in interpreting that the range of salaries for elementary teachers ranges from $50-100K, and that a guidance counselor in the elementary schools earns $94K? Seems like a wide range.

    It can be argued how many of these costs are specifically related to the reconfiguration and how many were recognized as operational savings that could be made without affecting the quality of the elementary program -- another point open to debate. I assume this review of 'non-essential' headcount will be applied to the MS and HS in the upcoming budget review.

  9. #144
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    I wouldn't trust the new savings cost from an administration that couldn't properly calculate the new bus routes to the new start/ending times of the Elementary Schools with simple math! Besides, who are these teachers that magically disappeared? Why can't Wayland make it simple for the public to understand where our money goes within the schools, like Weston does?
    The truth is, our Elementary schools are not better off for this configuration. You should have thought outside the box on this one. These numbers are not trustworthy. Don't have your party yet!

  10. #145
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    Upon reviewing the various figures being discussed here and elsewhere, I analyzed the Elementary School situation from FY 08 to FY 09 using the Budget Book and the backup documents provided by the WS Committee and Administration. Because I couldn't find actual data in detail for FY 08 (and noting that the actual results came in very close to budget in total) I felt comfortable in using FY 08 Budget as a comparison base. Further, I made sure the comparison was apples-to-apples in that only personnel costs were included and that items like custodial services and special education assistants that were reflected in the Central Office budget historically were shown here as being within the specific school budgets for both years. Again, this information is within the budget detail and not manipulated by me in any way.

    What is shown in the table below is the budget for each elementary school in FY 08 and compared to the FY 09 budget ultimately agreed to in May of 2008. I then added the figures Jeff noted above -- subtracting out the Crossing Guard and Health Benefits figures since they appear to be in the municipal and not school budget. The $673,121 becomes $566,121 in this scenario.

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    What I've assumed is that since the $566K is being counted as expenses that would've been incurred had the schools not been reconfigured, they were originally part of the budget submitted to the SC in November of 2007. There may be slight differences; e.g., probably the first budget pass was a bit higher on the edges, but not significantly.

    If these assumptions are incorrect or misguided, I'd appreciate knowing how and where (and also how I can see this information myself -- this might be more appropriate as a formal request to the Administration). If they are correct, I'd like to know the thought process of the SC upon recieving a budget that was 13% higher in a period of declining enrollment (in its view). Further, was closing a school the first reaction to reducing the 13% growth estimate? If all schools were directed to grow at no more than 5% year-to-year, couldn't the same savings have been achieved while keeping the neighborhood model intact? What drove the 13% increase? It's not clear where that is. Speaking for myself, I'm looking not to be an auditor of each line of the School budget, but to get an understanding of major decision-making processes of this committee via a transparent view of finances and priorities. As Senator Biden put it in the VP debate last month, I'm not questioning motives, but I am questioning judgment.

  11. #146
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    Whoa, the response here is overwhelming. Give me some time to review all the data.

    It's interesting how we can safely identify exactly $673,121 in savings but not explain if or why there was an actual, justified 13% increase proposal to a budget.

  12. #147
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    I reported the cost savings items discussed by the School Committee at its most recent meeting. I have not had the opportunity to explore whether or not there was a potential 13% increase in the elementary school budget, but I do find that amount unexpectedly high.

    Given that the schools are in the midst of a multi-year process to align the budget with the format now in use by the MA DESE (formerly DOE), resulting in budget items being moved from one category to another (for instance, from the Central Office and/or district-wide to specific levels of schooling), it would take an effort of unknown magnitude on the part of our Administrators to resolve that question.

    With our Administrators now working to respond to an accelerated preparation time line in order to prepare the FY2010 budget, I'm not sure that it would be wise to expend such an effort.

    A cursory look at the FY09 Budget Backup Documentation (p. 1), however, shows an increase much lower than 13%.

    • CH FY08: $3.2M
    • HH FY08: $2.5M
    • LO FY08: $2.6M
    • CO FY08: $7.9M (Central Office)
    • TOTAL FY08: $16.2M

    • CH FY09: $4.9M
    • HH FY09: $3.4M
    • LO FY09: $1.0M
    • CO FY09: $6.6M
    • TOTAL FY09: $15.9M

    If we were to add the $0.5M reconfiguration savings (excluding municipal savings) back to the FY09 total, it would be $0.2M above the FY08 total, or 1.2%.

    Now, some of the $1.3M Central Office "savings" (actually, an accounting change from the Central Office to the school buildings) may well have been attributed to the MS and/or the HS, which would drive that 1.2% up somewhat, but not nearly to 13%.

  13. #148
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    Jeff, I confined my summary to personnel costs only (which were the basis of the savings estimate for the 2.5 model). If you assign the Central Office savings to the MS and HS based on student population or some other like metric, you'll see where the 13% comes from. Non-personnel savings are fine, no doubt, but you don't need to close a school to get them.

  14. #149
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    A couple of other things, in no particular order. I don't want this whole reconfiguration discussion to be relegated to Wayland's dustbin of history because "the budget" shows savings which justify this decision. I think the figure of $673K or $566K is incorrect for reasons such as particular headcount that really shouldn't have been counted, etc., but really because it's important to draw a very clear distinction between reducing a budget and actually reducing ongoing, real expenses -- especially as we will be asked to support not only the priorities but the actual basis of the FY 10 Budget and its implications in the years following.

    Think of it: 2008 actual spending for 3 elementary schools was X. We are told that in 2009 we are saving $673K to go to 2.5 schools. The logical conclusion is that 2009 spending should be X-$673K. But it's not; there is actually an increase (in personnel costs) for 2.5 schools, so then we're led to believe that, 2009 spending status quo to 2008 (3 full elementary schools) would be X+$673K. Perhaps I have flawed logic in my reasoning but I'm not aware of it now. Why was 2009 planned to be so much more expensive? Again, reducing a budget is not the same thing as reducing spending.

  15. #150
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    As I attempted to explain in my previous post in this thread, the "without reconfiguration" ES increase that we would have seen between last year and this year was on the order of several percent, resulting primarily from salary (and perhaps utility) increases.

    With the reconfiguration, our savings appears to be on track for something north of half a million dollars relative to the "without reconfiguration" case. I appreciate that budget is not the same thing as expenditure--that is one of the motivations behind the budget to actual comparison available on the WPS web site.

    I would not want our administrators working to provide the backup for this comparative analysis given that they are under greater than normal time pressure to put together a budget for the coming year. That is not to say, however, that there is not important information to be learned as we moved from last year to the current year. I have no doubt that they are applying this understanding to the budget preparation task in front of them.

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