Results 1 to 15 of 45

Thread: School Budget vs. Town Budget

Hybrid View

Previous Post Previous Post   Next Post Next Post
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Wayland MA 463 Old Conn Path
    Posts
    382

    Default School Budget vs. Town Budget

    On December 15th, 2008 the FinCom presented the financial state and plan for Wayland in a public presentation and provided a PDF presentation. That presentation is attached to this thread.

    Slide 20 of that presentation shows FY10 Estimated Expenditures by Function. In this slide the 'Schools' are shown to represent 50% of Wayland's budgetary expenditures.

    When I was in office, it was commonly known and believed (as of April 2008) that the 'Schools' represented 69.1% of the total. Some of the difference was in the 'Unclassified' which is shown (in this slide #20) to be 14%. Even if we add the full 14% to the 50% we would only get 64% which falls short of the 69.1% ( ~ 70%) that was understood. So this slide cannot represent reality?

    An email that has come to my attention reads as follows:
    From: DiPietro, Michael
    Sent: Tue 12/16/2008 1:43 PM
    To: Turkington, Frederic
    Cc: Dept Heads; Sam_Peper@bio-rad.com
    Subject: FY10 Budget & Reduction of State Aid - Cuts

    Fred, last night the Fincom approved a motion to seek expense reductions to cover an expected 10% or 500,000 cut in state aid from the submitted FY10 Department budget requests.

    The school portion of the budget excluding insurance and debt accounts equals 70% with the town making up the remaining 30%. This represents $150,000 of expense reductions on the town side.

    We understand that you are still in the middle of your review and consolidation of the new dept of public works, DPW.

    With the anticipated savings from this consolidation and possible other cuts throughout the town side of the budget, both selectman and other boards, we are looking for you to achieve 150,000 of savings.

    Once you have finished your review please forward to me your proposed reductions of $150,000 ASAP.

    I have cc'd department heads so they are aware that you may recommend reductions to their respective departments from their submitted budget requests for FY10 once the consolidation review has been finished if necessary.

    If you have any questions please let me know.

    Mike

    Michael DiPietro
    Finance Director
    Town of Wayland
    508-358-3611

    Although the above email was forwarded to me, it carried no legal restrictions on its usage and it does, in fact, cover material which either is or should be in the public domain and was discussed in open meeting on 12/15/08.

    In this email, our finance director uses a 70% school related cost factor for the schools which leaves 30% for the town. This does, in fact, fit with what I understood while in office. But the 70% excludes insurance and debt accounts so the 70% is actually a low figure and must be somewhat larger.

    The crisis mentioned in this email is the reduction of $500K (or 10% state aid) of which $150K (30%) would have to be borne by the town side and should be extracted via DPW savings + any other departmental savings.

    The 70% balance or $350K would have to be borne by the schools.
    One way to make up this shortfall would be from FREE CASH but this option was not approved at the April TM when $300K was asked to be taken from FREE CASH such that Loker would not be reconfigured.

    I also feel that slide 20 needs to retooled to show reality.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wayland MA
    Posts
    1,431

    Default

    A few years back, I took a stab at calculating the percentage of overall spending accounted for by the schools. As Alan points out above, it's not a straightforward calculation because of the way that items such as health insurance and debt payments are reported.

    I started with the school budget and added a portion of health insurance (based on school versus municipal employee head count), a portion of medicare (ditto), nursing (whose cost resides in the Health Department budget), and a portion of debt and interest.

    • FY99: 63.8%
    • FY00: 63.2%
    • FY01: 64.0%
    • FY02: 65.2%
    • FY03: 64.0%
    • FY04: 66.3%
    • FY05: 65.8%

    There are at least two other school expenses on the municipal side of the budget for which I did not account at the time: (1) pensions for clerical, cafeteria, and custodial workers (this should be a reasonably small number, as teachers and administrators fund their own pensions) and (2) crossing guards (also reasonably small). My estimate is that with these items added, the school share could reasonably accurately be called two-thirds.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Wayland MA 463 Old Conn Path
    Posts
    382

    Default More than splitting hairs

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    My estimate is that with these items added, the school share could reasonably accurately be called two-thirds.
    Yes, another data point was our conversation last year that you felt it was 2/3rd's and I felt it was up to you to mention your own opinion on this; so I didn't reference it above.

    Mike Di'pietro is clearly trying to balance a shortfall of $500K based on 70/30% and the other items not accounted for could send this to 72/28%.

    Additionally, another source (who shall remain nameless) but would have detailed data said that (he/she) thinks it is 72/28%

    BTW: 2/3rd's to 72% is about 5% or $25K of shouldered shortfall for the schools so this is 'more than splitting hairs'.

    The purpose of my post was not to call out that the schools account for at least 70% of the budget, because this (I believe) has always been true (for decades) and other peer towns most probably have the same type of split. In fact for a town like ours this may be a perfectly natural ratio of expense.

    My purpose(s) was as follows:

    1. To bring to light that slide 20 is bogus and has always been bogus since its been like this for years but I can't seem to get it changed. The slide should reflect reality. Its a pivotal slide of the FinCom and it should show people what the true ratio of expenses are.

    2. The schools have the burden to make up for at least $350K of shortfall and, short of an override in April or short of a RIF prior to FY10 then where would the $350K come from?

    3. If the reconfig really did save >$350K then this would have been the logical place to take it from.

    So I offer this Dipietro email and its resolution as sort of a proof.
    If the reconfig actually did save >= $350K in real tangible dollars then this $350K would now be accounted for and there would not need any other RIF, tax levy or services cutting type action.

    So Jeff, what are your thoughts on this?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    84

    Default

    It's interesting that a $500K increase in state aid from FY 08 to FY 09 ultimately resulted in the consolidation of an elementary school, and a $500K decrease from 09 to 10 requires another $350K in school savings. Is the $500K in state aid a general cut or is it more specific?

    I take your points about free cash usage and reconfiguration savings, Alan. In fact, the savings have been advertised as over $600K so the problem is solved, then.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wayland MA
    Posts
    1,431

    Default

    Paul, it's not clear to me which problem you think is solved.

    State aid comes to the town as a whole, not directly to the schools. That state aid includes Chapter 70 funds (for education), highway funds, and probably others. Overall, state aid is back at roughly 2002 levels following a decrease during the intervening years.

    Even Chapter 70 funds don't come directly to the schools. Rather, the schools budget based on need for a given year subject to limitations in available funding.

    The School Committee has stated that the decision to reconfigure the elementary schools was driven in large part by *actual* declining enrollment and the desire last spring to reduce the amount of the operating override--the decision was essentially disconnected from state aid movement at the town-wide level.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Wayland MA 463 Old Conn Path
    Posts
    382

    Default Not Speaking for Paul

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    Paul, it's not clear to me which problem you think is solved.
    I don't want to speak for Paul but...
    I think what he was saying was that since the *calculated* reconfig savings has been published by you to be ~$600K (and one would assume that these are real dollars and not some accounting 'vaporsave' ) then the 70% of the $500K (or $350K) which the schools must now *cut* would be easily covered by the touted $600K due to the reconfig.

    Paul is this right?

    And for my curiosity, I would like to understand a crisp answer to this chain of events.

    Does the $350K shortfall which must now be covered on the school side get covered by part or all of the reconfig savings that you have previously calculated?

    In other words, do the schools have this shortfall covered already and if not why?

    Thanks.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    84

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post
    I don't want to speak for Paul but...
    I think what he was saying was that since the *calculated* reconfig savings has been published by you to be ~$600K (and one would assume that these are real dollars and not some accounting 'vaporsave' ) then the 70% of the $500K (or $350K) which the schools must now *cut* would be easily covered by the touted $600K due to the reconfig.

    Paul is this right?

    And for my curiosity, I would like to understand a crisp answer to this chain of events.

    Does the $350K shortfall which must now be covered on the school side get covered by part or all of the reconfig savings that you have previously calculated?

    In other words, do the schools have this shortfall covered already and if not why?

    Thanks.
    That's pretty much it, Alan (minus the sarcasm). If one was to believe the $600K figure is accurate, then one would intuit that since the SC had estimated and budgeted the $300K "saved" due to the reconfiguration, the "fact" that this figure is now $600K would mean that most of the FY 10 $350K shortfall targeted by the FinCom was already identified.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wayland MA
    Posts
    1,431

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post
    I don't want to speak for Paul but...
    I think what [Paul] was saying was that since the *calculated* reconfig savings has been published by you to be ~$600K (and one would assume that these are real dollars and not some accounting 'vaporsave' )
    The savings are real dollars.

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post
    then the 70% of the $500K (or $350K) which the schools must now *cut* would be easily covered by the touted $600K due to the reconfig.

    ...

    Does the $350K shortfall which must now be covered on the school side get covered by part or all of the reconfig savings that you have previously calculated?

    In other words, do the schools have this shortfall covered already and if not why?
    The schools do *not* have the purported $500k state aid shortfall covered.

    As I attempted to explain in an earlier post, the Finance Committee's FY10 guideline for the schools assumes (1) that the elementary schools have already been reconfigured and (2) that there will be no reduction in state aid.

    Put another way, to fund a three-school configuration, the Finance Committee would have to *add* the savings amount to the guideline. And, to pay a 2/3 share of the suggested state aid reduction, the schools would have to cut another ~$330k from the FY10 budget that it is developing.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    84

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    The savings are real dollars.

    The schools do *not* have the purported $500k state aid shortfall covered.

    As I attempted to explain in an earlier post, the Finance Committee's FY10 guideline for the schools assumes (1) that the elementary schools have already been reconfigured and (2) that there will be no reduction in state aid.

    Put another way, to fund a three-school configuration, the Finance Committee would have to *add* the savings amount to the guideline. And, to pay a 2/3 share of the suggested state aid reduction, the schools would have to cut another ~$330k from the FY10 budget that it is developing.
    What? $600K are real savings, according to you. The FY 09 budget recognized $300K from the reconfiguration. So where did additional $300K go? You expect the FY 09 budget to come in under by $300K, yes? So if the FinCom is expecting savings from the Schools they would be basing that off the FY 09 budget, not where you think you'll be in actuality ($300K less than that).

    I don't understand the obfuscation here. If the reconfiguration savings are more than the FinCom expected, why aren't those savings being applied into FY 10? Further, Alan's forwarded email indicated that the FinCom approved a resolution to find the state's $500K shortfall. Your point about the FC not requiring further savings from the schools seems incorrect now. If they are now requiring additional savings from the schools in proportion to the size of the budget (67%), the $350K needs to be saved. But from what? You've already exceeded the $300K of reconfiguration savings.

    This is math, not calculus. If the savings are real, the FY 10 budget presented tonight should be based on the FY 09 budget less an additional $300K. Finally, I continue to take exception to the allegation that having 3 full elementary schools open costs $600K more than the current 3 schools that are open now.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    46

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    The savings are real dollars.



    The schools do *not* have the purported $500k state aid shortfall covered.

    As I attempted to explain in an earlier post, the Finance Committee's FY10 guideline for the schools assumes (1) that the elementary schools have already been reconfigured and (2) that there will be no reduction in state aid.

    Put another way, to fund a three-school configuration, the Finance Committee would have to *add* the savings amount to the guideline. And, to pay a 2/3 share of the suggested state aid reduction, the schools would have to cut another ~$330k from the FY10 budget that it is developing.

    Jeff,

    Were there NEW costs figured into Fincom's FY10 guideline for the schools that did NOT occur in FY09? (Costs that did not occur this year but will take effect next year) Also, doesn't the fincom budget increase by 2.5% every year regardless of an override?

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •