Further discussion of School Choice option at 2/28 School Committee meeting

The School Committee will continue to investigate and debate the appropriateness of School Choice for FY09, at the February 28th Regular School Committee meeting at the Middle School Library 7:30 p.m. Check the www.hopkinton.k12.ma.us website for the Meeting Agenda schedule so that you know when the discussion on this agenda item will take place.

EducateHopkinton encourages you to the take the opportunity to have your voice heard and your questions answered regarding this one of many revenue enhancing recommendations made to the School Committee by the Financial Plan Working Group.

Emailing, calling or writing the members of the School Committee with questions or comments regarding the School Choice discussion is one way to involve yourself and your neighbors in the budget building process.

Many community members have already contacted the School Committee to discuss their questions and concerns regarding this choice.

School Committee members names and email addresses are included below:

  • Rebecca Robak, Chair rebeccarobak@aol.com
  • Nancy Alvarez Burdick nancyb88@hotmail.com
  • Lyn Branscomb lsbranscomb@comcast.net
  • Dave Stoldt stoldt@comcast.net
  • Phil Totino ptotino@comcast.net

www.educatehopkinton.com
Educate Hopkinton’s goal is to keep people up-to-date on the budget process and the Town’s financial needs.

Voice your opinion on the Hopkinton’s FY09 budget now

There have been several questions sent to www.EducateHopkinton.com regarding the definition of a level services budget vs a level funding budget and about what residents can do to make their voices heard. We hope that the information here will clarify the definitions and your role.

Level services vs Level Funding

· Level Services maintains the services the town now offers without any loss of personnel and programs. Funds may be shifted to accommodate changes in need, but residents would not feel a difference in what they now have. Supporting this type of service would require an override and increase your taxes beyond what is allowed by Proposition 2 ½.

· Level Funding or, more appropriate, funding to existing revenues, uses available revenue to fund the town budget. It does not require an increase in your taxes over what is allowed by Proposition 2 ½. It will, however, reduce the services that you now receive from schools, police, fire, and public works.

In both cases, at this point, the town does not know the exact dollar amount for an override or for service reductions. It is currently projected at $1.4 million, but that number is expected to go down to somewhere between $500 thousand and $1 million.

To have your voice heard, you should write the Board of Selectmen. They have the ultimate authority on deciding whether or not to put an override on the ballot, allowing citizens the choice of level services or level funding.

Because of the budget schedule, you should contact the Board of Selectmen or Town Manager before March 4.

If you want to send an email, here are some examples of sample wording:

1) Supporting Level Services:

Dear BOS/Town Manager,

I would like you to consider endorsing a level services budget for FY09. I understand that this will maintain current services for our schools, police, fire, and public works, avoiding a loss of personnel and programs. I would like the opportunity to vote on any potential override required.

Thank you for considering this request.

Sincerely,

The X Family

2) Supporting Level Funding:

I cannot support a tax increase to support Level Services. I understand that the impact of this choice will result in reductions in our schools, police, fire, and public works and am asking the town to construct a FY09 budget that makes the best use of revenues the town expects to receive.

Thank you for considering this request.

Sincerely,

The X Family

Here are the email addresses for the Board of Selectmen and the Town Manager.

Muriel Kramer, Chair: muriel.kramer@comcast.net
Mary Pratt, Vice Chair: mpratt102@aol.com
Mike Shepard: mwshepa@verizon.net
Brian Herr: bherr@wesco.com
Matt Zettek: mezettekjr@aol.com

Tony Troiano anthony.troiano@hopkinton.org

Next Year’s School Budget

BIG DECISIONS ARE BEING MADE FOR NEXT YEAR’S SCHOOL BUDGET . . . NOW .

*CURRENT SITUATION

Hopkinton is finalizing an FY09 TOWN BUDGET. Money is tight and every town department is trying to find ways to cut expenses and find efficiencies because the projected revenue available for FY09 is not enough to cover expenses.

*WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT AND WHEN?

All town department budgets will be reviewed by our Town Manager and on March 4th he will present his recommendation for a Town budget to the Board of Selectmen. His recommendation for the town budget (more than 50% of which is the school department budget) will be either to:

propose MAINTAINING SERVICES (LEVEL SERVICES) ****this would require some amount of override

or

propose SPENDING ONLY THE FUNDS THAT ARE AVAILABLE which means the town will have to reduce staffing.

The Board of Selectmen will vote to adopt an FY09 Budget on March 14th. The BOS decides whether or not to put a property tax override on the ballot – where we the voters get to decide what level of service we want for our town.

The School Committee just presented a budget to the Town Manager asking to MAINTAIN SERVICES for next school year. This term is known as LEVEL SERVICES. That simply means, not cutting teachers, programs, professional development and not increasing class sizes or fees. This would cost more than what the town expects to get in revenues and would require a property tax override

*What is the Impact of LEVEL SERVICES vs. SPENDING ONLY THE FUNDS THAT ARE AVAILABLE on the school budget?

LEVEL SERVICES does NOT cut anything currently in place.

If the BOS votes for a Level Service Budget then we get to ultimately decide if that’s what we want. WE can decide if we want to vote for an override to support LEVEL SERVICES or not. The School Committee’s budget together with the budget requests from other departments requires about $1.4 million above what is currently available to the town in order to be able to offer LEVEL SERVICES. ****This shortfall is likely to be reduced somewhat by changes in state aid, reductions in negotiated healthcare costs, etc. between now and March 14th.

SPENDING ONLY THE FUNDS THAT ARE AVAILABLE cuts services, and here is the impact of that:

*Loss of teachers/other personnel

*Higher Class Sizes

*Reduced academic supports

*Loss/Erosion of programs

*Increase of fees

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

· Determine what your position is regarding the budget and contact the Board of Selectmen and Town Manager!

You can find all the information on the website www.EducateHopkinton.com

HOW CAN I CONTACT THE BOS and Town Manager?

*Board of Selectmen Emails:

Muriel Kramer, Chair: muriel.kramer@comcast.net

Mary Pratt, Vice Chair: mpratt102@aol.com

Mike Shepard: mwshepa@comcast.net

Brian Herr: bherr@wesco.com

Matt Zettek: mezettekjr@aol.com

*Town Manager Email: 

Tony Troiano anthony.troiano@hopkinton.org

SPREAD THE WORD TO YOUR FRIENDS!

www.educatehopkinton.com

Educate Hopkinton’s goal is to keep people up-to-date on the budget process and the Town’s financial needs.

School Committee Submits Preliminary FY09 Budget to Town Manager

The School Committee is presenting its Preliminary FY09 Budget at tonight’s regular Meeting at the Middle School Library at 7:30 p.m. That meeting will be carried, as usual, live on HCAM and will be rebroadcast. If you have cable television, you are encouraged to watch (if you cannot attend the meeting).

A PowerPoint presentation of the preliminary FY09 budget presentation will be presented by Chair, Rebecca Robak.

The link to the School Committee’s Preliminary FY09 Budget Memo to the Hopkinton Town Manager:
http://www.hopkinton.k12.ma.us/newweb2/schoolcommittee/budget/08_09/Budgetsubmissionmemo.pdf

The link to the School Committee’s complete Preliminary FY09 Budget submitted to the Hopkinton Town Manager:

http://www.hopkinton.k12.ma.us/newweb2/schoolcommittee/budget/08_09/prelim09budgetarticle.pdf

Check these primary source documents out and begin formulating questions for the School Committee. EducateHopkinton encourages you to be educated and informed.

www.educatehopkinton.com

Educate Hopkinton’s goal is to keep people up-to-date on the budget process and the Town’s financial needs.

HPTA Coffee/Town Budget

Understand Hopkinton’s Budget

You are invited to join your friends and neighbors for coffee and information at:

Date: Tuesday, February 12, 2008, 10:30 am

Address: CAA, 98 Hayden Rowe

Host: HPTA

RSVP: jeanber65@hotmail.com, by 2/11/08

You’ll Learn:

1. The difference between a “level service” budget and a “level funded” budget and what they mean to you.

2. How the budget affects the services you receive from the town such as trash pickup, road maintenance and repair, fire and police response to calls to your home, the construction and development of commercial and residential land, the education of your child(ren).

3. The gap between the revenues the town has to spend and the cost of delivering the same services you receive now.

4. What elected officials and town volunteers are doing to cut expenses, implement economies, and build revenue this budget cycle and the years to come.

We are looking forward to hosting you. Experts will be available to answer your questions.
If you can’t attend, please go to www.EducateHopkinton.com, and learn how you can understand and participate in the decision making for this year’s Hopkinton budget process.

Making a Difference Every Day

www.hopkinton.k12.ma.us/hpta