Public Hearing Tonight at 7:30pm – 2013-14 School Budget

ATTENTION! If you can only attend one school committee meeting a year, this is the most important one to attend. It is your chance to voice your opinion on class size, fees or any other school budget topic before the School Committee votes on a final budget next week at their January 31 meeting.

School Committee Public Hearing/Working Session TONIGHT
Thursday, January 24, 2013 @ 7:30 PM
Middle School Library, 88 Hayden Rowe St
7:30pm On-Camera Public Hearing – FY14 Budget, followed by Off-Camera Budget Working Session

Important School Budget Documents:

Update on Petition to Keep Grade 7 Class Sizes Small

The Petition to Keep Grade 7 Classes Small, has received 162 signatures so far. It will be officially presented to the School Committee and Superintendent at tonight’s public hearing. To recap, the preliminary budget presented to the School Committee allowed for class sizes of 21 for 6th graders, 26 for 7th graders, and 18 for 8th graders. Grade 7 class sizes were projected to be much larger than grades 6 and 8. Click Here to Read or Sign the Petition Continue reading Update on Petition to Keep Grade 7 Class Sizes Small

Discussion of Fees to Parents

At the January 17 School Committee meeting, one of the topics of discussion was fees to parents and whether some of the fees should be decreased, eliminated or remain the same. No decisions were made last week, but a list of topics discussed and a list of current fees is given below. Please feel free to contact the School Committee and Superintendent with your opinion on fees. They will be voting on a final budget on January 31.

Discussion Topics:

  • At least two School Committee members would like to see both a decrease in the total school budget and a decrease in fees.
  • Some School Committee members wondered if the threshold for financial assistance should be increased? 
  • At least one School Committee member suggested that parents don’t mind the sports fees as much as the bus fees and perhaps it would be a good idea to reduce the bus fee but keep the sports fee as is.
  • The finance director noted that creating a walking zone around the Middle School and High School could save $74,000 by eliminating a bus and adding a crossing guard instead.
  • Several School Committee members suggested they would like to see a 10% reduction in bus, parking and athletics fees, but would first like to see how that impacted the rest of the budget and if other services might need to be cut instead.

Fee Type – Current Rate – Expected FY14 Revenue
Transportation/Bus Fee – $210 per year – $275,000 Revenue ($420 family cap, no charge for K-6 students living more than 2 miles from school)
Daycare Transportation Fee – $100 per student – $25,000 Revenue
Parking Fee – $210 per year – $50,000 Revenue
Preschool Tuition – $3,200 per year – $125,000 Revenue
Full Day Kindergarten Tuition – $4,000 per year – $288,000 Revenue
Athletics Student Fees – $150 per sport – $215,000 Revenue (Per student per sport, no family cap)
Athletics Gate Receipts – fee varies – $35,000 Revenue
Student Activities Fee – $25 per year – $19,000 Revenue (Middle School/High School, Per student, no family cap, but this fee was NOT charged in 2012)
Total Projected Revenue from Fees if Rates Remain Unchanged 
$1,032,000 

Financial Assistance: Currently fee waivers are available to families earning less than one and one-half times (150%) the Federal Poverty Guideline and fee reductions are available to families earning less than two times (200%) the Federal Poverty Guideline. Read more…

Petition to Keep Grade 7 Class Sizes Small Next Year

A group of parents and residents has started a petition to keep Grade 7 class sizes small for the 2013-14 school year. The preliminary budget presented to the School Committee allows for class sizes of 21 for 6th graders, 26 for 7th graders, and 18 for 8th graders. Grade 7 class sizes are projected to be much larger than grades 6 and 8.

Click Here to Read or Sign the Petition

January School Budget Discussions & Public Hearing

School Committee Meeting/Working Session
Thursday, January 17, 2013 @ 7:30 PM
Middle School Library, 88 Hayden Rowe St
7:30pm Regular Meeting
8:20pm Off-Camera Working Session – FY14 Budget Topics: Center School, Elmwood School, Hopkins School, and Technology Budgets, Overview of the New State-Mandated Educator Supervision/Evaluation System and a Discussion of User Fees (Bus Fees, Sports Fees, etc.)

School Committee Public Hearing/Working Session
Thursday, January 24, 2013 @ 7:30 PM
Middle School Library, 88 Hayden Rowe St
7:30pm On-Camera Public Hearing – FY14 Budget, followed by Off-Camera Working Session
ATTENTION! If you can only attend one school committee meeting a year, this is the most important one to attend. It is your chance to voice your opinion on the budget in person.

Important School Budget Documents:

Milford Casino Developer Files Application with State Gaming Commission

Yesterday was the application deadline for companies wishing to apply for casino and/or slot parlor licenses in Massachusetts. The state Gaming Commission received 11 applications each including a $400,000 non-refundable application fee. Read the MGC final applicant list. There were three applications for Region A, which includes both the Boston area and Milford. One of the applications was from Crossroads Massachusetts, LLC, which is a partnership between Developer David Nunes and Warner Gaming LLC. Nunes has stated in numerous news articles that he would like to build a casino in Milford, on the Hopkinton and Holliston border. Milford is in competition with Suffolk Downs in East Boston, Wynn Resorts in Everett and two other applicants who have not specified a location yet: Mass Gaming & Entertainment and PPE Casino Resorts.

A group of residents from several area towns have formed the group, Casino-Free Milford. If you are interested in helping them or staying informed on this topic, you can sign up for emails or to volunteer on their website: http://casinofreemilford.com/. You can also “Like” them on Facebook or sign the petition to Keep Milford Casino-Free, which has over 1,100 signatures to date.

Continue reading Milford Casino Developer Files Application with State Gaming Commission

Meet the Superintendent Candidates

Although we just blogged a few days ago, there was some important news yesterday about which we felt our readers would want to be informed. So please excuse the frequency of our emails this week. The interview dates for the Superintendent candidates have been announced. Members of the public may attend the School Committee Interviews of the candidates, which will be followed by a community forum where you may ask your own questions of the candidates and also fill out a feedback form for the School Committee to consider. The hiring of the Superintendent is one of the most important responsibilities of the School Committee. Your feedback is valuable. Click here to read the résumés for all four finalists…

Monday, January 7 – High School, Room A-219
Ms Cathy MacLeod (Assistant Superintendent, Easton Public Schools)
@ 7:00pm School Committee Interview
@ 8:30pm Community Forum

Tuesday, January 8 – High School, Room A-219
Dr Steven A Hiersche (Interim Superintendent, Hopkinton Public Schools)
@ 7:00pm School Committee Interview
@ 8:30pm Community Forum

Monday, January 14 – High School, Room A-219
Dr Andrew W Keough (Principal, Wellesley High School)
@ 7:00pm School Committee Interview
@ 8:30pm Community Forum

Tuesday, January 15 – High School, Room A-219
Mr Joseph F Baeta (Superintendent, Holbrook Public Schools)
@ 7:00pm School Committee Interview
@ 8:30pm Community Forum

Please note that Mr Baeta has withdrawn from the Superintendent Search as of January 11.