Page 3 of 3 FirstFirst 123
Results 31 to 45 of 45

Thread: School Budget vs. Town Budget

  1. #31
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    275

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TracyScheidemantel View Post
    Paul- the reconfig did not claim to "better" last years elementary school experience. I believe it was an option which attempted to make the best of many less better alternatives. A more meaningful comparison might be to compare this years experience with that of a 3 school ES model with different cuts.
    Tracy - finally a point on which I could agree with you. The meaningful comparison is comparing this years experience with that of the three schools with cuts. Hmmm...let's see:

    *three far less crowded buildings
    *kids eating lunch in normal fashion rather than speed racing through it
    *more playground equipment
    *less bullying
    *class sizes at least equal if not better than what we have now
    *far less aggravation for parents
    *a community that would not be divided

    Chime in folks, I'm sure I'm missing many key points.

    The reconfiguration was a FAILURE by any measurable standard. We destroyed something great and replaced it with a deeply inferior product, and ripped apart our ES community as a bonus!

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    84

    Default

    Jeff- one key point you conveniently avoided was that of the cuts which would have been in a 3 school ES model.
    Continuing to look at what was cut, in a vacuum, without what was NOT cut is your choice, but I don't think it is worthwhile.

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    275

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TracyScheidemantel View Post
    Jeff- one key point you conveniently avoided was that of the cuts which would have been in a 3 school ES model.
    Continuing to look at what was cut, in a vacuum, without what was NOT cut is your choice, but I don't think it is worthwhile.
    I absolutely did not leave out the cuts that would have been made (I didn't list them, I guess). Here they are:

    4.0 Elementary Teachers $ 263,945.00
    .65 Kindergarten Teacher (1 section) $ 35,824.00
    1.0 FTE Librarian $ 5 0,624.00
    .2 FTE Music $ 16,978.00
    1 K Teaching Assistant $ 13,643.00
    3 Teaching Assistants $ 55,085.00
    Elementary Subtotal $ 436,099.00

    Well, since the kindergarten teacher was a phantom cut -- meaning this person never existed, except in budget form, I'm saying that the other $400K of things that would have been cut pales in comparison to the result of the configuration. I am saying that we would have been better off with 3 schools and the "cuts" than with the debacle we have today.

    By the way, those cuts were in no way a certainty. If we had done some defense of our schools and simply included the 3 schools with the override vote, then we would have gotten the three schools and no cuts. One could argue the override wouldn't have passed, but that seems far-fetched given the margin of victory.

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    84

    Default

    Jeff, I guess I'm not following-- those cuts were made possible b/c of the reconfig. If we stayed with 3 ES schools for one more year (08/09) there would have been other cuts--granted those may have been less "aggravating" for you personally, but I think it is important to consider impact on the students, k-12, within the classroom walls.

  5. #35
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    275

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TracyScheidemantel View Post
    Jeff, I guess I'm not following-- those cuts were made possible b/c of the reconfig. If we stayed with 3 ES schools for one more year (08/09) there would have been other cuts--granted those may have been less "aggravating" for you personally, but I think it is important to consider impact on the students, k-12, within the classroom walls.
    Your reply suggests that the override would have failed if the three-school model was retained. As I said in my last post, I do not believe that would have been the case. We could argue this point until the cows come home, but nobody will be proven right.

  6. #36
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Wayland MA 463 Old Conn Path
    Posts
    382

    Default With the Benefit of Hindsight...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    As I said in my last post, I do not believe that would have been the case. We could argue this point until the cows come home, but nobody will be proven right.
    Now with the benefit of some hindsight, it is my firm belief that the town would have passed a $2.3M override in April 2008 vs a *passed* $1.89M override.

    My reasons for believing this were that in April 2008 very few people saw any impending doom of a worldwide economic meltdown coming. Yes, there were some indicators of real estate depreciation but stories of mass layoffs, bank meltdowns, bailouts and ponzi schemes did start kicking in until the beginning of October 2008. In fact, election day the Dow was at 12,300 and rising to a peak of about 13,000 which lasted until the middle of May. From that point on the Dow started to gently fall to 11,000 around the middle of July. All of this market activity was perceived as a continuance of the bubble right through election day. Even after that point, a decrease in the Dow to 11,000 was seen as a normal correction.

    We should also remember that Wayland was so strong for that override that it did it even in the face of a miserable defeat of a menu pair ballot question in Sudbury.

    Another indicator for me was the litmus test election aspect of the override itself. A sitting selectman and a new candidate who both were against the override were defeated along with the passed override. The candidates that won were for the override, the candidates that lost were against.

    No one will ever know the actual truth of this because you can't roll back time and redo the experiment so you have to look at factors that point one way or the other.

    Now with this said, and with the hindsight of the post-October economic meltdown - with a grim future for the forseeable future, it would have been better for Wayland to have either had a much smaller override targeting the status quo of a 3 ES model plus securing all public safety services. There would have been sacrifices in that scenario but the time to have made cuts were in April 2008. If you don't think so then ask yourself whether even that $1.89M override would be able to pass this April 2009 if it were on a ballot?

    We could have also taken the $400K from free cash which was said on TM floor... you should know that our free cash is now approaching 10% of our budget which is 4-5% higher than what is recommended by Moody's to preserve a AAA.

    No doubt some of my friends will disagree with this analysis but if you do then please provide your disagreements in a historical perspective because its the only way to assemble some sort of proof in hindsight.

  7. #37
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    726

    Default

    Alan,

    I agree with some pieces of your analysis. I believe the override would have passed even if it had been $2.3 million, though that is with the benefit of hindsight. At the time, I think everybody expected an extremely close vote. Even if I didn't agree with the argument, I don't think it was unreasonable to think that the school's effort to reduce the override amount might have made a difference in the vote's outcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanJReiss View Post
    Now with this said, and with the hindsight of the post-October economic meltdown - with a grim future for the forseeable future, it would have been better for Wayland to have either had a much smaller override targeting the status quo of a 3 ES model plus securing all public safety services.
    This sounds wonderful! A smaller override with the three ES model plus securing all public safety services! When you propose something like that, you need to clarify what you mean -- What cuts would you have made? I recall you arguing for larger class sizes across the board. Would that have been your approach?

  8. #38
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Wayland MA 463 Old Conn Path
    Posts
    382

    Default It wasn't my approach it was the MTA's approach....

    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    I agree with some pieces of your analysis. I believe the override would have passed even if it had been $2.3 million, though that is with the benefit of hindsight.
    What pieces don't you agree with?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    This sounds wonderful! A smaller override with the three ES model plus securing all public safety services! When you propose something like that, you need to clarify what you mean -- What cuts would you have made? I recall you arguing for larger class sizes across the board. Would that have been your approach?
    The main piece that I constantly proposed was in line with the Ad-Hoc #1 item (that was recently removed) which was to reopen the MTA contracts so that all teachers would keep their jobs, the override wouldn't be required and more people would find it easier to stay put in their homes.

    Given that the town wasn't willing to reopen those contracts and/or the MTA would not have had the motivation to lower or eliminate the increases then it came down to larger class sizes vs. increased numbers of people who found it harder to survive in Wayland. Given those two, I would take the larger class sizes.

    In all the research that I have have seen (or heard) the single biggest driver for student success was positive parental involvement which overpowered all other factors. Larger class sizes were a mixed bag on both sides where the only definitive and substantive difference came in the younger grade levels. So larger class sizes was an easy choice over citizen survival.

    I was very clear about this and I dedicated much of a 23 page website to explain it.

    As an employee in industry, if my CEO says no raises but you keep your job then I appreciate keeping my job.

    As an employee when I was teaching, if my union representative says no raises but you keep your job then I appreciate keeping my job.

    Is there anybody out there who would take raises over being fired?

    Do not forget that the negotiating position of the MTA has always been one of their willingness to take the 'body count' and then counting on the override to pull them out of trouble. Fear of larger class sizes has worked well for the MTA. This negotiating position occurred when I was in office and during the tenure of selectmen way before me.

    Now with hindsight it is also clear that those sacrifices should have been made in April 2008. This downturn is going to be a long long one. We should get used to the sacrifices as described above.

    Because they are coming one way or the other.

  9. #39
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    448

    Default AlanJReiss, God of Logic & Reason

    Once again, Alan, your logic & reason shine through amid the twisted perversion of perception and reality that so often shows its ugly face on these boards.

    So much of what you say is right on. However, there is one area that I disagree with class size. There are some things in life class size, smoking, jumping off the Empire State Building to name a few for which, IMHO no further studies or research are needed. They are, IMHO, self-evident. Common sense.

    With all else equal, it is simply counter-intuitive (IMHO) that a larger class size could be as effective as a smaller class size. Between bullying, discipline problems, distractibility, potential for kids slipping through the cracks, both academically & socially, and more, there is no way that a teacher can command the attention of, have the control of, and effectively teach a larger group of kids as well or as comprehensively as a smaller group of kids.

    .
    John Flaherty

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

  10. #40
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    46

    Default Calculate lost opportunities for elementary school students

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Baron View Post
    Tracy - finally a point on which I could agree with you. The meaningful comparison is comparing this years experience with that of the three schools with cuts. Hmmm...let's see:

    *three far less crowded buildings
    *kids eating lunch in normal fashion rather than speed racing through it
    *more playground equipment
    *less bullying
    *class sizes at least equal if not better than what we have now
    *far less aggravation for parents
    *a community that would not be divided

    Chime in folks, I'm sure I'm missing many key points.

    The reconfiguration was a FAILURE by any measurable standard. We destroyed something great and replaced it with a deeply inferior product, and ripped apart our ES community as a bonus!
    Jeff,

    Opportunities have been lost for elementary school students that have not yet been quantified. I am not in the position to know what all of them are, but I can speak from personal experience, as I have two children in the middle school and one at Claypit.
    My third grader loves music and had looked forward to joining the chorus. When she attended Loker, there was a third grade chorus. At Claypit there is only a chorus for 4th and fifth graders. Is this a big deal?
    My daughter also danced for many years in Natick at a class that started at 3:30. When she attended Claypit, there was no possible way to make it the class on time and it had to be cancelled. Is this a big deal?
    Though my daughter has met some wonderful new friends at her new school, there is little chance she can see them outside of class unless I can make arrangements to pick up her friends at school. Last year this was no problem because I only lived 1 minutes from the school, but now its 45 minutes round trip event. Is this a big deal?
    When my children were at Loker I could see them perform their musical instrument at the school sponsored concerts and take their picture. This year, my daughter's first with the Viola, I could not see her or take her picture. She wasn't on a stage in front of the crowd, she was pushed against the wall like a sardine with the other third grade strings, while I wondered how I would get to her if there was a fire. Is this a big deal?
    By this time last year, I probably would have been in the Loker School too many times to count (helping in the class, or simply saying hello to my children's teacher), this year I was invited on one field trip that I was able to go on because my name was drawn out of a hat. Was there any benefit to parents being involved at the schools in years' past? Is this a big deal?

    To those who do not think any of this is a big deal, I offer this. Multiply all the opportunities LOST by our youngest group of students. Read the book "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell.

    We are doing a disservice to our Wayland Students by not calculating their losses this year (and the future) vs. last year. In fact, its just plain ignorant on our part to continue to bury our head in the sand.

  11. #41
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    84

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mary Barber View Post
    We are doing a disservice to our Wayland Students by not calculating their losses this year (and the future) vs. last year.
    Again, comparing last years ES experience to this years is not a meaningful comparison without taking into account what other cuts we could have been experiencing. I'm sure with this next round of budget cuts, we will see many of those occurring...for example could come in the form of reduction in MS clusters, MS/HS co-curricular cuts, increase in class sizes, teacher reductions, etc. etc. etc.

    Maybe instead of "calculating losses" and asking whether a loss is a "big deal" it would be more meaningful to ask how it compares to other losses. Any loss in a nutshell appears a "big deal" to the person who lost it, but put it in context of other loss scenarios, and it may have less overall impact on the greater good.

  12. #42
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    84

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TracyScheidemantel View Post
    Paul- the reconfig did not claim to "better" last years elementary school experience. I believe it was an option which attempted to make the best of many less better alternatives. A more meaningful comparison might be to compare this years experience with that of a 3 school ES model with different cuts.
    I did not say it was made to better last year's experience. I'm simply saying it made it worse. Your suggestion of a more meaningful comparison is a good one, unfortunately none was offered last year.

  13. #43
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    46

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TracyScheidemantel View Post
    .Maybe instead of "calculating losses" and asking whether a loss is a "big deal" it would be more meaningful to ask how it compares to other losses.
    Tracy,

    I am really glad that Bill Gates' parents didn't take the attitude your taking now back in the 60's, otherwise you and I would be unable to communicate our opinions to each other on this blog!
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 12-28-2008 at 07:56 PM. Reason: to fix quote formatting

  14. #44
    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?

  15. #45
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wayland MA
    Posts
    1,431

    Default

    The Finance Committee's guideline includes sufficient funds for negotiated salary increases as well as some additional funds for special education and increased utility costs. The remainder of the budget is level-funded. The schools determine how to apportion the available funds--new items may be added while existing ones are removed.

    In general, the budget will increase by 2.5% in non-override years. Over the past few years, town-wide increases in health insurance, pension, and utility costs have consumed most if not all of this 2.5% allowance before any salary increases have been taken into account.

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
  •