If you read the story in yesterday's Boston Globe, you would have come away with a sympathetic angle regarding that the schools need more support...who doesn't want to support better schools?
The issue here is not "better" schools but more $$$. If $$$ alone made better schools, we would have the best in the world as we spend more $$$ per student than anywhere in the world....and in the end, Johnny still places about 25th in education compared to his peers in other countries....wonderful. We pay top $$$ but get a poor return....it would be like paying for a Camaro and getting back a Yugo....
Let's delve into the story....The schools are losing " Stimulus Funds" they had last year....Funny money that was given out by POTUS and is not something you should count on as it doesn't exist in the real world....You can't expect that kind of money to appear year after year... Then if you read the whole article, you find the meat of the story at the end...
" In Everett, School Superintendent Frederick Foresteire said his district will get a $4.9 million state aid increase next year. But he said his budget will be tight in light of other factors, including the loss of $1.3 million in stimulus money; a nearly $1 million drop in city spending on schools; a $650,000 increase in charges for health insurance and other costs; and the $700,000 needed to cover step increases and other union contractual obligations."
Health insurance and Union obligations added $1.35 million in cost to their budget - WELL, no wonder why you can't pay the bills - The Unions helped themselves to a nice pay increase and the Health Insurance is increasing (without the employees paying a larger cut, like in the private sector ) The media wonders why there is outrage against the schools?? Easy - Poor performance by teachers and students, unreasonable $$$ and benefits expectations by school employees and a poor return on the investment made....Did I miss anything?
Schools caught in a vise Loss of stimulus funds worsens budget outlook Area school districts are worried the Legislature will reduce the amount of state aid for education proposed by Governor Deval Patrick
By John Laidler Globe Correspondent / March 27, 2011
In Danvers, the School Committee has approved a budget proposal that would cut 21 positions during the next fiscal year. In Revere, however, school officials are struggling to close a projected $5 million fiscal 2012 budget gap without layoffs. Across the region, school districts are facing difficult choices as they struggle to balance their fiscal 2012 books in the face of a bleak confluence of factors, including rising costs and the end of federal stimulus dollars.
“It is very challenging,’’ said Danvers School Superintendent Lisa Dana, whose district’s proposed cuts include the equivalent positions of 11 teachers and nine aides. The budget also calls for a 20 percent increase in fees. Officials said the district must absorb cost increases in areas such as special education and contractual obligations, and a loss in federal stimulus money, while keeping to an overall 2.07 percent spending increase. “There’s definitely an impact when you are cutting the equivalent of 21 positions,’’ Dana said.
But the budget keeps core services to students intact through such means as restructuring or doing without services that support that core, she said. Revere School Superintendent Paul Dakin called the fiscal 2012 budget “certainly the most difficult in recent years, because we are losing stimulus money that we had over the last couple of years.’’ Dakin said about half the district’s projected $5 million budget shortfall is the result of the loss of those federal dollars. The remainder is owed to rising costs in areas such as fuel, health insurance, contracted salary increases, and transportation.
He said state school aid is up $2.8 million, but that is not enough to make up for the other budget pressures. The district is pursuing potential ways to eliminate the shortfall, including saving money in this fiscal year to carry into the next one; and seeking through negotiations to have unions agree to health care concessions, one to two furlough days, and deferring part of a 2 percent salary increase owed to them next year, he said. Dakin cautioned that even if the district manages all those changes, “we’d be in real trouble’’ if the Legislature allots less for state aid than Governor Deval Patrick has proposed.
Tom Scott, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, said districts have seen job and service cuts the last few years, but federal stimulus money has helped moderate those reductions. “We have now arrived at the perfect storm where we have lost all the federal money and we are probably at the bottom of where our resources are,’’ he said. “The costs of education continue to be significant. So this is going to be a tough year for most of the school districts.’’ Scott said most districts face the need to make cuts that “are going to increase class size or reduce direct programs and services for kids.’’ But he agreed with Dakin that the severity of those cuts will be determined in part by whether the Legislature adopts school aid figures below those proposed by the governor.
In Everett, School Superintendent Frederick Foresteire said his district will get a $4.9 million state aid increase next year. But he said his budget will be tight in light of other factors, including the loss of $1.3 million in stimulus money; a nearly $1 million drop in city spending on schools; a $650,000 increase in charges for health insurance and other costs; and the $700,000 needed to cover step increases and other union contractual obligations. Foresteire said balancing the budget will require job cuts, including layoffs, but the extent is still to be determined. “Everything is on the table,’’ he said.
Peabody School Superintendent C. Milton Burnett said his district will be able to replace some stimulus money with funds it received last year from the federal Education Jobs Fund program. But he said fiscal 2012 is still shaping up as difficult due to rising health costs and the need to carry out deferred maintenance to HVAC systems. He said it was premature to say if job cuts will be needed. In Salem, School Superintendent William J. Cameron Jr. predicts a “tough budget year’’ in which “the best I can plausibly expect is to maintain level services.’’ Cameron said that over the past several years, Mayor Kimberley L. Driscoll and the City Council have provided the schools with enough funds to weather the decline in state aid. It remains to be seen, he said, “whether that level of commitment to the schools will still be possible.’’ © Copyright 2011 Globe Newspaper Company.