Superintendent's Blog

Entries Tagged as 'Budget Information'

Enjoy the 2012 April Vacation

April 13th, 2012 · No Comments

Just a quick note to say have a great April Vacation Week.  As we head into the vacation break, we do so with an approved budget for FY2013.   Special thanks to the Bedford School Committee, the Finance Committee,  the Capital Expenditures Committee and Annual Town Meeting for supporting the budget that will continue to move our schools forward.  During the April Vacation week, we will replace the failing portion of the roof at Lane School and the locks for the JGMS lockers.

Tags: Budget Information · Community · Parent

METCO Students Join Representative Murphy at the State House

March 20th, 2012 · No Comments

Representative Murphy with the Bedford Delegation

Bedford METCO students joined Dr. Napier, our METCO Director, for Lobby Day.  This is an annual event for METCO districts as we seek continued state support for a highly acclaimed program.

Tags: Budget Information · Community

Update: FY 2013 Budget

February 9th, 2012 · No Comments

Here’s a quick update on the status of our FY2013  Budget.   The Finance Committee has approved the FY 2013 School  Committee Budget for $32,787,202, a 3.38% increase over FY2012.  It is important to remember and underscore that  we were able to achieve an agreed upon budget that supports current staffing and needs because of the Bedford Education Association  contract settlement.  While the budget is not final until Annual Town Meeting approval at the end of March, the Finance Committee  vote is a significant step forward.  This budget maintains current programming and includes the following restorations and additions:

  • (.5) Instructional Technology Specialist at Davis School
  • (.5) Tech Support staff
  • (.4) Teaching Assistant  BHS Skills Center (.6) TA  Crossroads program
  • (2) Teaching Assistants  and a (1.0) Teacher for the JGMS Transitions Program
  • Increase in time for Adjustment Counsellors at Lane and JGMS and Occupational Therapist at Lane
  • Implementation of the K12 plan for technology purchases following a hiatus for the last several years
  • Purchase of iPads for grade 10

I am deeply  appreciative that the Finance Committee has supported this budget.  Getting there has been a team effort.  I know that the wonderful work that our staff does each and every day  in our schools each day is the reason this amazing town continues to support our schools.  As we move this budget forward, I want to extend a special thanks to David Coelho and Cyndy Taymore who have been wonderful partners in helping me shape and present the budget we need for our schools.  And kudos to the Bedford School Committee for the many hours they have invested to get us to this juncture.

Tags: Budget Information · Community · Parent

FY 2013 Budget Presented to Bedford School Committee

November 30th, 2011 · No Comments

The FY 2013 Budget request for the Bedford Public Schools was presented to the Bedford School Committee on November 29th. The budget request reflects a 4.23% increase and includes an annual cost avoidance of $2.9 million that has resulted from the creation of more in-house programs for specialized Special Education populations.

To view the presentation, click here:
http://www.bedford.k12.ma.us/component/content/article/121-news-district/628-fy13-budget-presentation.html

Tags: Budget Information

Cutting Class: Underfunding the Foundation Budget’s Core Education Program

November 30th, 2011 · No Comments

For today’s blog post, I am featuring a “special guest” piece authored by Tom Scott, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents. Tom has written a very informative piece about the chronic underfunding of education in the Commonwealth.

The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center has released their comprehensive study of the Chapter 70 foundation budget, titled Cutting Class: Underfunding the Foundation Budget’s Core Education Program.  The study investigated and authored by Luc Schuster, Policy Analyst at MassBudget is a comprehensive examination of the now nearly two decade old basis for funding public education in Massachusetts.  The final released study is now available at MassBudget.org:

This thoroughly researched and clearly written report points out the most glaring deficiencies between what is being spent compared to the allowances in the foundation budget and draws attention to its effect on low wealth school districts and on regular education statewide.  The study was funded by our colleagues in MASBO to secure a factual outside view of much that we were experiencing locally but now viewed from a statewide perspective.  The study is an excellent review of the original intentions of school reform legislation and how it has evolved in the reality of present day costs and demands.  We encourage educators to read this important work and to discuss it by participating in a  growing statewide conversation about the  shortcomings of the foundations upon which state and local standards of support for the education of students are now set.

Key Finding:

1.       Foundation understates core SPED costs by about $1.0 billion

2.    Foundation understates health insurance costs by $1.1 billion

3.    Districts have not implemented the low-income student program envisioned in the original foundation budget

4.    Most districts hire fewer regular education teachers than the foundation budget sets as an adequate baseline.  The study was able to disaggregate special education teacher costs from regular education teachers, unveiling the lack of spending on regular education teaching caused by the required demands for special education teaching.  Only the highest wealth communities have been able to spend at foundation for regular education teachers.

5.    Inflation adjustments have not been fully implemented, causing foundation to lag behind true cost growth

6.    Other items uncovered by the study and its analysis

a.     Page 10:  One third of all students attend schools spending essentially only at the foundation budget.  These students live in and attend schools mostly in low-income school districts.  Research from other sources indicates that the greatest achievement gap exists in low income school districts.  The study analyzes school districts by sorting them into quintiles of wealth, “the least wealthy 20 percent have average spending right at their average foundation budget, whereas the wealthiest 20 percent of districts spend 39 percent above foundation.  These findings indicate that communities with greater wealth make it a priority to raise additional local revenue to fund education at levels significantly above baseline foundation amounts.” Page10.

b.    Spending on items that are now forced to be considered as discretionary such as supplies, materials and technology is well below their foundation budget allowance, with most spending less than half that allowance.  Only the highest wealth quintile spends up to the foundation allowance on professional development.  By contrast the greatest achievement gap exists in the poorest districts where professional development is underfunded.  Other grant sources are noted as an alternative source of this funding.

c.     Teachers today have higher levels of education than existed in 1990 when 48.1% of teachers held master’s degrees.  In 2007-09 61.6% hold master’s degrees, also reflecting higher standards to achieve and maintain professional status.

The study is an excellent base for discussion of the short comings of the present allowances within the foundation budget.  It clearly points out that of the $ 9.1 billion in required minimum spending in the FY 2010 foundation budget school districts are forced by current circumstances to spend $ 2.1 billion (23% of all required spending) above what is allowed in the foundation budget for unanticipated on two items alone, special education costs and health insurance.  Money for impactful important spending to fund teaching and learning is being consumed by the faulty assumptions in the historic foundation budget that needs to be corrected.

This latest study, coupled with previous MASS studies, and the MBEA/Boston Foundation Report, A Bargain Not Kept: School Funding Realty, authored by Ed Moscovitch, released in December 2010, makes clear that corrections are long overdue.  Representative Jason Lewis and others have filed H 153 to fund a foundation study.  MASS support that study, but immediate action is needed for schools to draft their budget plan for FY 2013.

Tags: Budget Information · Community

Special Education: A Changing Population

October 11th, 2011 · No Comments

The October 9 edition of The Boston Globe Magazine included an article delineating some of the factors that have contributed to a rise in our Special Education population.  In the last decade, schools have seen an increase in both the number of children who require an IEP (Individual Education Plan) and the intensity of the supports these children need to be successful in our schools.

In Bedford, we have added more specialized Special Education Programs in all of our schools to  support these children.  Bringing programs for children with significant Special Needs  in-house has been one strategy to better serve the children in a more cost effective manner.  As this article suggests,  as the intensity of the needs increases,  so do the costs.  Bedford has also launched RtI  (Response to Intervention) a K-12 instructional initiative designed to provide ‘just in time’ intervention designed to eliminate the need for some  referrals to Special Education.

I recommend the article to you as a good background piece on the changing population in our schools.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine/2011/10/08/the-test-ahead/89zgadwU7F5ckhFxu7JOdN/story.html

Tags: Budget Information · Community · Parent

FY 2012 Budget Newsletter Posted

March 28th, 2011 · No Comments

Bedford’s Annual Town Meeting begins tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Bedford High School auditorium.  ATM will continue on Monday and Tuesday evenings until the Town completes action on all of the warrant articles.  The 2012 Budget Newsletter for the schools has been mailed to all residents.  It is also available online:

http://www.bedford.k12.ma.us/super/pdfs/Budget%20Newsletter%20–%20FY12.pdf

I look forward to seeing you at ATM.

Tags: Budget Information · Community

Fiscal Planning Hosts Townwide Budget Meeting

March 21st, 2011 · No Comments

The Fiscal Planning Committee hosted a presentation and discussion of the FY2012 Budget last week.  This presentation was designed to provide residents with an overview of the budget proposals for FY 2012 and the Town’s fiscal position.

If you are interested in viewing the PowerPoint, it is posted here:

http://www.bedford.k12.ma.us/info/pdfs/FiscalPlanningMarch15BudgetForumPresentation.pdf

Remember that Annual Town Meeting, the body that approves all Town budgets, begins on Monday, March 28th at 7:30 p.m. in the Bedford High School auditorium.

Tags: Budget Information · Community

Bedford School Committee Approves FY 2012 Budget

March 9th, 2011 · 1 Comment

The Bedford School Committee has approved a FY 2012 Budget that meets the Finance Committee Guideline while maintaining programs and services in our schools.  The Committee voted a budget of $31,716,380 with an assumption that the $562,500 awarded to Bedford via State Impact Aid for our Hanscom population will be added to that base budget to form a total budget of $32,278,880 for FY2012.

The Committee’s ability to reach that budget without the elimination of programs or the institution of fees for families is a direct result of several financial  factors.  First and foremost, the Bedford Education Association ratified a three year contract for teachers that enabled us to reduce the personnel costs in FY 2012 without reducing teaching positions or programs.  The willingness of our teachers to help us solve the FY 2012 Budget problem is characteristic of a professional staff that always goes beyond reasonable expectations to make this a great place for kids.  On both a personal and professional level, I am indebted to them for working with us through such a  challenging fiscal situation.  The second factor that contributed to the budget resolution is the state’s recent assurances that the Special Education Circuit Breaker will be funded at 65% vs. tha 38% rate in Fy2011.

The final step in the approval of our budget is the vote of Annual Town Meeting which begins on March 28th.

Tags: Budget Information · Community

Bedford School Committee Presents FY 2012 Budget to the Finance Committee

January 21st, 2011 · No Comments

The Bedford School Committee Budget for FY2012 was presented to the Finance Committee on January 20th.  The presentation of the budget to the Finance Committee represents the next step in a process that leads to final approval at the Annual Town Meeting in March.  In the coming weeks, both the School Committee and Finance Committee will continue discussions of this budget, which is not in compliance with the Finance Committee Guideline.

If you are interested in viewing the presentation, click here:  http://www.bedford.k12.ma.us/info/pdfs/FY12BudgetFinComPresenta.pdf

Tags: Budget Information · Parent · Teaching and Learning