Category Archives: Class Size

Budget Update: Grade 7 Class Size, Fees and more

At its January 31 Working Session, the School Committee voted to submit a 2013-14 budget to the Town Manager, which represents a 4.4% increase over the current year’s budget. Key changes from the budget originally presented by Dr Hiersche in December include:

  • 10% Reduction in bus fees, parking fees and athletic fees.
  • Addition of two dual-certified teachers for Grade 7 to decrease class size to an average of 22 per class next year.

Important School Budget Documents:

Supporting Budget Documents:

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

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

School Budget Update

A huge “Thank You” to everyone who came to the School Committee Public Hearing and/or wrote to the School Committee with your thoughts on the 2012-13 budget. Your voices truly do make a difference! A few days after the public hearing the School Committee sent the following press release. The budget has now been submitted to the Town Manager and may still go through many changes before Town Meeting (May 7) as it is reviewed by the Town Manger, Selectmen and Appropriations Committee. Please continue to stay informed.

PRESS RELEASE – HOPKINTON SCHOOL COMMITTEE FY13 BUDGET

On January 28, 2012, the Hopkinton School Committee voted a budget of $34,085,238, which is an increase of $1,127,516, or 3.42%, over the FY12 budget.

The budget includes support for the following concerns highlighted by the community:

  • 6 classrooms of Full Day Kindergarten and 4 sections of Half Day Kindergarten, each with a full time teaching assistant;
  • Average class sizes of 20 students or less in all Kindergarten and 1st Grade class rooms;
  • An additional classroom teacher in 4th grade and in 5th grade, resulting in average class sizes of 22 at each grade level;
  • Reinstatement of the Middle School Drama Related Arts course;
  • Funding for curriculum alignment to the new state mandated Common Core frameworks in Mathematics, including increased student and staff support as well as some textbooks;
  • Support for Strategic Plan initiatives in foreign language (funded by the F-1 Visa program that allows foreign students to tuition into the district); and
  • Needed maintenance at Center, Elmwood, Middle School, and High School, as well as the Special Education offices.

To support all of the items listed above, the School Committee:

  • Reduced technology requests;
  • Reduced funding for supplies;
  • Increased athletic fees at the Middle School and High School from $125/sport to $150/sport;
  • Implemented a $25 activity fee for Middle School and High School non-athletic extracurricular activities (one annual fee/student covers as many clubs as the student participates in);
  • Increased Full Day Kindergarten tuition from $3,700 to $4,000; and
  • Implemented a $100/student transportation fee to local daycare/afterschool program providers.

With this budget, the School Committee is able to protect the classroom experience provided to students, continue to work toward Strategic Plan initiatives, and be fiscally responsible to the community. There was a tremendous amount of feedback offered by the community throughout the budget process, and the School Committee would like to thank all who shared their comments and perspectives. Understanding what the community values and prioritizes helped guide the School Committee through difficult choices between many valued programs and initiatives, and the current economic challenges faced by residents. The School Committee would also like to thank the administrative staff for support in revising the budget to meet community desires.

Preliminary 2012-13 School Budget

Superintendent Landman presented his preliminary 2012-13 (FY13) school budget at the December 20 School Committee meeting. Some highlights are included below. Please note that nothing is final at this point, this is just the beginning of a process. The School Committee will provide feedback to the Superintendent who will then refine the budget before the School Committee votes on a budget to submit to the Town Manager by the February 1 deadline. If you have an opinion, question, comment or concern about any part of the budget you should feel free to contact the School Committee hpsschoolcommittee@hopkinton.k12.ma.us and Superintendent jlandman@hopkinton.k12.ma.us at any time. You may also voice your opinion publicly at the School Budget Public Hearing coming up on January 26.

Thumbs Up:

  • Maintains close to level services for 2012-13
  • Continues to work toward Strategic Plan goals such as:
    • Aligning our math curriculum with Common Core standards
    • Intervention Pyramid for struggling students
    • 21st Century Learning (such as online classes at the HS)
    • Technology Infrastructure Updates, such as replacing teacher laptops that are more than 5 years old
    • Critical Language (Mandarin) at the HS
    • Exploration of how to add the study of world languages to grade 6 and below
  • Create a school bus parking lot in town to save fuel, as well as save on excise tax paid to the other town where our buses currently park.

Thumbs Down:

  • $707,268 Decrease in budget offsets from last year such as state circuit breaker special education funding and education job grants
  • Increased class sizes in grades K, 1, 4, 6 and 8 (see chart below)
  • More high school classes with over 25 students (17% this year vs 20% next year)
  • A net cut of 2.6 Staff Members compared to last year (a net cut of 20.4 staff members since the 2006-07 school year)

Proposed Class Sizes:

Grade Strategic Plan
Guideline
2011-12 2012-13 Proposed Change
PreK n/a 19 18 Decrease
K 19-21 21 22 Increase to above guideline
1 19-21 21 22 Increase to above guideline
2 22-24 24 24 Same
3 22-24 24 20 Decrease
4 22-24 22 24 Increase
5 22-24 25 25 Same but still above guideleine
6 n/a 19 22 Increase
7 n/a 23 18 Decrease
8 n/a 17 23 Increase

Mixed Bag:

  • Increase student bus fees from $210 to $250 per year
  • Increase student athletic fee from $125 to $200 per sport
  • Increase student parking fee from $210 to $250 per year
  • Assess a daycare drop-off bus fee of $100 per student
  • Creation of a “walking zone” and elimination of the bus for Middle School and High School students living close enough to walk to school.

Summary of the Preliminary 2012-13 Budget:
$32,957,722 This Year’s Approved Budget 2011-12
+$1,518,755 Fixed Cost Payroll Increases (contractual obligations)
+$62,401 Other Fixed Cost Increases
___________
$34,538,878 Level Services 2012-13 Budget
+$285,425 Strategic Initiatives
+$71,000 Extraordinary Maintenance
-$69,342 Cost Cutting Measures
-$208,368 New Revenue (Fees)
-$359,608 Net Staff Positions Cut
_________
$34,260,733 Total Preliminary 2012-13 Budget

Recent Articles:
Hopkinton Crier: 2013 Hopkinton school budget proposed
By Michael Morton/Daily News staff
http://www.wickedlocal.com/hopkinton/mobiletopstories/x2140451562/2013-Hopkinton-school-budget-proposed

HopkintonPatch: 5 Preliminary Budget Recommendations
By Sean O’Donnell
http://hopkinton.patch.com/articles/5-preliminary-budget-recommendations-for-hopkinton-schools-in-fy-13

Hopkinton Crier: Hopkinton may revive high school laptop plan
By Michael Morton/Daily News staff
http://www.wickedlocal.com/hopkinton/news/x987651427/Hopkinton-may-revive-high-school-laptop-plan

Hopkinton Crier: Hopkinton school budget meeting is Jan. 5
By Michael Morton/Daily News staff
http://www.wickedlocal.com/hopkinton/mobiletopstories/x1895997901/Hopkinton-school-budget-meeting-is-Jan-5

Educate Hopkinton Fall Survey Results – Final

Thank you to everyone who took our fall budget topics survey! Although our survey is not scientific, it does give the Educate Hopkinton board some direction, and at least a rough idea of what topics are of most interest to our readers.

1) What Hopkinton capital projects are you most interested in this year? (Check all that apply)
Center School Capital Project 41%
Library Expansion Project 24%
Hopkinton Center for the Arts 12%
New DPW Facility 12%
Hockey Rink Building Project 7%
Other: Elmwood School and Special Education Reform

2) What Hopkinton land development projects / issues are you most interested in this year? (Check all that apply)
Milford Casino 32%
Legacy Farms/Former Weston Nurseries Property 28%
Hopkinton Square/Price Chopper 24%
Sports Fields / Active Recreation 8%
Community Preservation Act Funds 5%
Other: Fruit Street

3) What Hopkinton annual budget topics / issues are you most interested in this year? (Check all that apply)
Class Sizes 17%
Elmwood School Maintenance/Repairs 17%
Middle School Maintenance/Repairs 14%
Town Operating Budget – 2 ½% Increase 13%
Expansion of Foreign Language Program 12%
Energy Efficiency Savings / Green Issues 8%
Fees to Residents (Trash, Bus, etc.) 8%
School/Town Union Contract Negotiations 5%
Health Care Costs for Municipal Employees 3%
Other: Center School Maintenance/Repairs, Downtown Revitalization, Special Education Reform

Tonight’s School Budget Public Hearing is Still On

If you can only attend one School Committee meeting a year, this is the most important meeting to attend!

After the public’s input at the hearing tonight the School Committee will consider making any changes they decide are necessary to the Superintendent’s budget before submitting the budget to the Town Manager. If you think something should be added or cut from the budget, this is your chance to speak up. If you are unable to attend Thursday, please email your comments to the School Committee before the meeting. Click here to email the School Committee.

Thursday, January 27
Middle School Library
6:30pm – School Committee Office Hours
7:30pm – Public Hearing on the Budget

Superintendent’s Preliminary Budget

High School
Middle School
Athletic Department
The following budget summaries are not yet posted: Special Education, Buildings & Grounds, Central Office, Center, Elmwood, Hopkins and Technology.


Thumbs Up:

  • Class Size – Average elementary class sizes are projected to remain close in size to last year. Grades K-1 are projected to have about 21 students per class and Grades 2-5 are projected to have about 22-25 students per class.
  • Fees – The Superintendent’s preliminary budget includes no fee increases to parents.
  • Math Tutors – Continued funding of math tutors enhances the school district’s ability to help struggling and at risk students.
  • Hopkins – Budget includes new funding to enhance the English Language Arts program at Hopkins.
  • Middle School – Reinstatement of a Grade 6 teacher prevents class size from exceeding 25 students.
  • High School – Budget includes the addition of a High School Mandarin Chinese teacher, which is currently being funded by a grant from the federal government.

Thumbs Down:

  • Staff – Budget requests 435.6 total staff members for the 2011-12 school year. While this is a slight increase over last year (3.3), it is a total decrease of 20.3 staff members since the 2006-07 school year. Enrollment has increased by 8 students since 2006-07.
  • Class Sizes – Grade 3 average class sizes are expected to increase to 23 students per class next year. Grade 4 average class sizes are expected to increase to 25 students per class next year.
  • Elmwood/Hopkins – Continued sharing of an Assistant Principal at Elmwood and Hopkins continues to stress the operational demands at these schools.
  • Technology – Continued elimination of a dedicated technology teacher for each school adversely impacts the way in which technology is woven into the daily curriculum.
  • Foreign Language – Budget does NOT include a Foreign Language teacher at Hopkins, which places it off-track for meeting the Strategic Plan goal of offering foreign language in elementary school by 2014.
  • Middle School – Budget does not include the request of two additional days per Middle School guidance counselor, which impedes their ability to ensure students’ schedules are accurate, that students have been properly placed, and that universal screening reports are prepared for teachers prior to the beginning of school.
  • High School – The percentage of High School classes over 25 students will increase from 17% this year to 21% next year. History and Math are the greatest areas of concern with 29% of classes over 25 students.