Category Archives: FY11 Budget

School Budget Update – Harmful Cuts Avoided, Status Quo High Class Sizes Remain

Status Quo Maintained for Next Year

As the FY11 school budget year draws to a close, the school budget maintains the status quo in Hopkinton School fees and programs. Specifically, the proposed budget has the following impacts:

  • Maintains current class sizes, which are already higher than recommended. Class size will range from 20-24 students at the elementary levels and 22 to 23 per classroom at the Middle School.* At the High School, the percentage of classes with over 25 students should remain constant at around 18%. The one exception is 2nd grade, where a new teacher will be added to decrease the class size in 2nd grade next year.
  • Supports Strategic Plan initiatives
    • Full-day kindergarten pilot
    • Virtual learning
    • Curriculum improvements
    • 4.0 Remedial math tutors have been added for FY11 to provide interventions for students
    • Improved district communications
  • Maintains all current curricula and extra-curricular programs, including
    • 5th Grade Instrumental Music
    • Freshman sports
    • Middle School related arts
    • High School guidance staff
  • Maintains all fees at current levels
  • Maintains all special education services

* Please keep in mind that we cannot predict how many new children may move into the district over the summer. Last year 37 new students unexpectedly enrolled in Center School over the summer. Class sizes could increase considerably if this happens again.

Teachers 0% Pay Increase for FY11
In April, the Hopkinton School Committee and Hopkinton Teachers’ Association reached an agreement for a one year contract. Pursuant to that agreement, teachers employed by Hopkinton Public Schools will receive a zero percent pay increase for the 2010-2011 school year. Teachers also agreed to defer step increases until Fiscal Year 2012, and to eliminate a retention bonus teachers receive upon six years of service. For its part, the School Committee agreed to pay teachers a one-time $1200 payment to each teacher. The payment, however, will only be applied to the salary base of the highest step on the teachers’ scale.

Class Sizes are Still High, No Previously Lost Programs Have Been Reinstated Yet
This year’s school budget avoided making harmful cuts to staff and programs that directly affect the quality of our children’s education. But the budget did not enable the district to reinstate programs, services or staff that had been eliminated in prior years’ budget cuts. For example, classes at Center, Elmwood and Hopkins will consist of up to 24 students. Yet the latest research indicates that class size has the greatest impact at the elementary level and recommends class sizes of fewer than 20 students. The research further indicates that the gains are greatest the more years students are in smaller classes and indicates the gains are retained through the upper grades. Smaller class size also helps elementary students more quickly assimilate the rules of school culture, results in more individual attention, increases rates of student participation, reduces class disruptions, and improves children’s self-esteem.

In addition, Hopkinton falls below the state average in per-pupil spending. Based on the latest figures released by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Office of School Finance, Hopkinton’s total per pupil expenditure for FY 09 was $11,560 while the state average was $13,063, a difference of $1,503.

The FY12 Budget Season will be here before you know it. As always, please encourage your friends and neighbors to sign up for Educate Hopkinton blog updates at: http://ehop01748.org/.

Town Meeting Day 2 Unofficial Results – Meeting Adjourned at 10:48 p.m. – Warrant Complete

For more details on each article read the 2010 Annual Town Meeting Hand Warrant at http://www.hopkinton.org/ATM2010HandWarrant_Final.pdf

Article 36: Delete Ch. 107 and Sec. 61-11- PASSED unanimous

Article 37: Personnel Bylaws – PASSED 67 for – 49 against

Article 38: Adopt Stretch Energy Code – PASSED 120 for – 43 against

Article 39: Off Street Parking Bylaw: Bylaw-Parking Requirements for Restaurants, Downtown Business District and Issuance of Special Permits for Reduced Parking – PASSED unanimous

Article 40: Site Plan Review: Limit Renewable Energy Site Plan Review To Six (6) months – PASSED unanimous

Article 41: Zoning Map: Rezone 89 Hayden Rowe from Residence B to Business – PASSED unanimous

Article 42: Amend Floodplain district per new FEMA Maps – PASSED unanimous

Article 43: Definition of Historic Structure and Allow Flexibility for Preservation – PASSED unanimous

Article 44: Amend Industrial A District to Allow Restaurant by Right – PASSED clear 2/3 majority

Article 45: Zoning Map: Rezone 0, 50, 58, 60, 64, 66, 68 and 70 West Main Street From Residential B to Business Rural – PASSED 123 for – 40 against

Article 46: Article 1, Sec. 210-4: Design Continue Care Retirement Community, Assisted Living and Nursing Home – PASSED unanimous

Article 47: Article XVIII, Sec. 210-124B (1) Parking Requirements for Continuing Care Retirement Community, Assisted Living and Nursing Home – PASSED unanimous

Article 48: Transfer of Real Property, Sell or Dispose of Real Property at 84 West Main Street – PASSED unanimous

Article 49: Authorize a Lease of Town Property at 98 Hayden Rowe – PASSED unanimous

Article 50: Transfer Ownership of Public Library from Library Trustees to Town – PASSED unanimous

Article 51: Authorize Board of Selectmen to Seek Authority to Apply for Grants for the Expansion and Construction of the Public Library – PASSED unanimous

Article 52: Change in CPA Surcharge – NO ACTION unanimous

Article 53: Amend Town Charter to Provide for an Appointed Town Clerk – PASSED clear majority

Article 54: Abolish the Board of Public Works – PASSED unanimous

Article 55: Acceptance of Strong Chief Statute – PASSED unanimous

Article 56: Accept M.G. L. c 32B, § 18: Medicare Enrollment for Retires – NO ACTION clear majority

Article 57: Street Acceptance (Breakneck Hill Rd and Glen Rd only) – PASSED clear 2/3 majority

10:48pm Motion to Adjourn to Annual Town Election – PASSED unanimous

Annual Town Election – Monday, May 17 @ 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Middle School, 88 Hayden Rowe St, Hopkinton MA 01748

Town Meeting Day 1 Unofficial Results – 35 Articles Voted, 22 Articles To Go

For more details read the 2010 Annual Town Meeting Hand Warrant at http://www.hopkinton.org/ATM2010HandWarrant_Final.pdf

Article 1: Acceptance of Town Reports – YES unanimous

Article 2: Fiscal Year 2010 Supplemental Appropriations – NO ACTION unanimous

Article 3: Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Transfers – YES unanimous

Article 4: Unpaid Bills from Previous Fiscal Years – NO ACTION unanimous

Article 5: Amend the Salary of an Elected Official – YES clear majority

Article 6: Amendments to the Wage and Classification Plan – NO ACTION unanimous

Article 7: Fiscal Year 2011 Operating Budget – YES unanimous

Article 8: Fiscal Year 2011 Operating Budget – School Department – YES unanimous

Article 9: Property Tax Exemption Increase by 50% for Qualifying Exemption – YES unanimous

Article 10: Revolving Funds – YES unanimous

Article 11: Establish a Receipts Reserved for Appropriation Account for Parks & Recreation – YES unanimous

Article 12: Highway Department Chapter 90 Funds – YES unanimous

Article 13: Central MA Mosquito Control Project Membership – YES unanimous

Article 14: Pay‐As‐You‐Go Capital Requests – YES clear majority

Article 15: Improvements: Cedar Street Snow Dump – YES unanimous

Article 16: Radio Read Water Meters – YES clear 2/3 majority

Article 17: Water Department Service Truck – YES majority

Article 18: Downtown Design for Traffic, Roadway and Streetscape – YES clear 2/3 majority

Article 19: Design and Replacement of Water Main: Main Street – YES unanimous

Article 20: Traffic Beacon: Main Street/Church Street
– Motion by Appropriations for NO ACTION failed by a clear majority
– Motion by Peter LaGoy for $15,000 to be raised and appropriated YES passed by a clear majority

Article 21: Design and Improvements: Town Wells – NO ACTION clear majority

Article 22: Class “A” Fire Engine – YES clear 2/3 majority

Article 23: Firefighter Portable Radio – YES clear majority

Article 24: New Service Vehicle – YES unanimous

Article 25: Thermal Imaging Camera – YES unanimous

Article 26: Restoration and Replacement: Damage School Property – YES unanimous

Article 27: Repair, Maintenance, Renovation, and Improvement of the Elmwood Elementary School Boiler and Heating System – YES unanimous

Article 28: Design, Repair, Maintenance, Renovation, Improvement of the High School Loop Road – YES clear 2/3 majority

Article 29: Community Preservation Committee Recommendations
– Motion to delete item L (Maspenock Dam preservation) FAILED by a clear majority
– Motion to delete item H (Library Historic Digitization Project) FAILED by a clear majority
– Motion to delete item C (Landscaping at Town Hall) FAILED by a clear majority
– Motion to pass items A-L PASSED by a clear majority

Article 30: Extension of Vote on Fruit Street Fields Project – YES unanimous

Article 31: Establish a Capital Expense Stabilization Fund – YES unanimous

Article 32: Transfer a Stabilization Fund – YES unanimous

Article 33: Amend Ch. 5: Hopkinton Affordable Housing Trust Fund Board – Passed YES 84 NO 21

Article 34: Amend Ch. 195: Sewers and Wastewater Collection System – YES unanimous

Article 35: Amend Sec. 170‐1: Authority of Board of Selectmen, Recycling – Failed YES 39 to NO 69

11:14 p.m. Motion to Adjourn until Tuesday, May 4 at 7:00 p.m.

Town Meeting continues with 22 articles that remain to be voted at Hopkinton Middle School Auditorium, 88 Hayden Rowe St, Hopkinton MA 01748 (Also broadcast on HCAM-TV, Comcast Channel 8/Verizon Channel 30)


For more details read the 2010 Annual Town Meeting Hand Warrant at http://www.hopkinton.org/ATM2010HandWarrant_Final.pdf

Town Meeting Begins Tomorrow at 7:00pm – Includes 57 Articles to be Voted

Annual Town Meeting
Begins Monday, May 3 at 7:00 p.m. (continues on consecutive evenings until complete)
Hopkinton Middle School Auditorium, 88 Hayden Rowe St, Hopkinton MA 01748
(Also broadcast on HCAM-TV, Comcast Channel 8/Verizon Channel 30)

Town Meeting 101
Did you move to Hopkinton because of the great school system and the small-town feel? Do you want to ensure that Hopkinton remains a town that you want to call home? Then please attend Town Meeting. Town Meeting is a crucial decision-making event for our town. The town’s committees and staff have worked through budgets, recommendations, etc. It is now up to Hopkinton’s citizens to voice our opinions and determine the direction of our town by voting on the articles presented at Town Meeting.
Key articles include the Town Budget, the School Budget, repair of the High School Loop Road, the potential reduction of our Community Preservation fund contribution, and design enhancements for the downtown area (see below for more details). In total, there are 57 articles to be voted on. Most of these will be decided at Town Meeting. Only two of the articles (#18 Downtown Design and #27 Elmwood Boiler) require a passing vote both Town Meeting and Town Election (May 17). There are many hot button issues that will only be voted on at Town Meeting. Often, key articles are passed or defeated by a few votes. Your attendance matters.

Some Key Articles on the Warrant this Year:

#18 Downtown Design for Traffic, Roadway and Streetscape – DPW (Also on the ballot 5/17)
To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate, transfer from available funds, borrow or otherwise provide a sum or sums of money for the design of traffic, roadway and streetscape enhancements in the downtown area of the Town; and, to meet such appropriation, authorize the Town Treasurer, with the approval of the Board of Selectmen, to borrow said sum in accordance with Chapter 44, Section 7 (5, 6), of the Massachusetts General Laws, or any other enabling authority; and, further, to authorize the Town to apply for any grants or loans available for the purposes of this article; said sum to be spent under the direction of the Director of the Department of Public Works.
[Approximately $400,000 to be borrowed; recommended by the Appropriations Committee]
For more info:
Visions of Hopkinton: Steps toward Downtown Revitalization
Prepared For the Downtown Revitalization Committee, Winter 2010
by Gareth Crosby, Lily Jacobson, and Kristin Thomas • Conway School of Landscape Design
http://www.hopkinton.org/gov/drc/pdf/ConwayReport.pdf

#27 Repair, Maintenance, Renovation, and Improvement of the Elmwood Elementary School Boiler and Heating System – School Committee (Also on the ballot 5/17)
This article involves replacing the boiler at Elmwood School. Fortunately when the boiler was replaced at Center School, the project came in under budget. There is money remaining in the Center School account that should cover the cost of the Elmwood boiler replacement. However Town Meeting approval is needed to transfer these funds to the Elmwood Project. In addition, there will be a question on the town election ballot, that requires a yes vote to transfer the money. Again, this will not increase taxes; this is merely a transfer of funds.
[Approximately $145,000 to be transferred; Recommended by the Appropriations Committee; Also recommended by the Capital Improvements Committee]

#28 Design, Repair, Maintenance, Renovation, Improvement of the High School Loop Road – School Committee
This article has been placed on the Annual Town Meeting warrant for several years, although the School Committee has pulled it before the town meetings were held. This article is to cover the costs to repair the High School loop road. The road bed has deteriorated in several spots, resulting in rutting in the roads. Over the years it, it has been getting worse. There have been recent accidents at that spot in the road, posing safety concerns as well. There is also a newly identified section of road, along the CAA property, that is also getting rutted. The loop road is on school property and is not owned by the town, so the schools must provide the money to repair it. The DPW has assessed it and agrees that it is in urgent need of repair. The School Committee is therefore asking for funding to repair it. The good news is that construction and supply costs have gone down as a result of the economy, and the costs are much less than were projected several years ago. The School Committee will be asking for $130,000 to repair the road.
[Approximately $130,000 to be borrowed; Recommended by the Appropriations Committee; Also recommended by the Capital Improvements Committee]

#29 Community Preservation Committee Recommendations – Community Preservation
Committee
(See also article #52 Change in CPA Surcharge)
[Approximately $1,428,250 to be used from available CPA funds]

#35 Amend Sec. 170‐1: Authority of Board of Selectmen, Recycling [Trash Barrel Limit] – Petition

This article is a citizen’s petition in response to the Selectmen recently reducing each household’s weekly trash barrel limit from 4 barrels to 2 barrels. If passed this article would change the Hopkinton General Law to:
“…Such rules and regulations may require the separation of designated recyclable material or materials from other solid wastes, may specify the point at which the ownership of such designated recyclables shall vest in the town, may prohibit removal without authorization by the
Board of Selectmen or its designee of such designated recyclable has vested in the town, and may establish fines for violation of such rules and regulations, provided that such fine shall not exceed $50 for each violation. Notwithstanding, the Board of Selectmen and its designee, if any, shall have no authority to limit the number of trash barrels holding non‐recyclables that shall be picked up by the town’s waste contractor on a weekly basis to fewer than four 39‐gallon barrels per household.
Background Information: According to Town Manager, Norman Khumalo, the proposal to reduce the number of weekly barrels per household from 4 to 2 had projected the following savings: $10,000 contractual, $15-25K in disposal fees and a minimum of $16,000 in recycling income. Based on the above the FY 11 budget built in the following changes: the town reduced the Harvey contract (Acct 90 Rubbish Collection) from $453,000 to $443,000 ($10,000 in savings). The town also reduced Acct 1074 Rubbish Disposal by $37,116.52 based on FY 10 performance and anticipated improved recycling. According to the Town Website, as of April 1 households wishing to put out more than 2 barrels of trash per week, must purchase additional bags at Colella’s or Hopkinton Lumber. The cost of the bags is $1.25 each, and are sold in packages of five ($6.25). Sales tax does not apply.

#38 Adopt Stretch Energy Code – Board of Selectmen/Sustainable Green Committee
Adopting the “Stretch Code” is one of the five criteria that Hopkinton must meet in order to receive a “Green Community” Designation under the Green Communities Act of 2008. Towns designated as Green Communities are eligible for a grant up to $1,000,000 annually from a $10,000,000 fund that is replenished annually from the Regional Gas Initiative. That means this fund is not dependent upon the state budget.
The ‘stretch code’ is an optional appendix to the Massachusetts building energy code that allows cities and towns to choose a more energy-efficient option. This ‘stretch code’ option increases the energy efficiency code requirements in any municipality that adopts it, for all new residential and many new commercial buildings, as well as for those residential additions and renovations that would normally trigger building code requirements. This code will be MA state building code standard in 2012. By being early adopters Hopkinton can access the grant program. If it does not pass we must wait another year and get in line.
In addition to allowing municipalities to take meaningful action on energy use and climate change, the adoption of the more stringent and more performance based ‘stretch’ energy code is anticipated to result in significant cost savings for local residents and businesses, and increase design and construction firm competitiveness in the growing green building marketplace. The Stretch Code is expected to result in a 20% reduction in energy costs with a 2-3 year payback. It applies to new construction homes over 3000 sq feet, commercial over 5000 sq feet and substantial renovation to existing homes that are over 3000 and commercial over 5000. Initial costs over the 2006 code are significantly offset by rebates and initiatives.
For more information:
Stretch Code FAQ
October 2009 – New England Planning Newsletter
Summary of the Massachusetts Building Code Appendix 120.AA, ‘Stretch’ Energy Code
Massachusetts Stretch Code Modeling and Cash Flow Analysis – April 2010

#46 Article 1, Sec. 210‐4: Design Continue Care Retirement Community, Assisted Living and Nursing Home – Petition
This article is a citizen’s petition related to the Golden Pond Assisted Living Residence.

#47 Article XVIII, Sec. 210‐124B (1) Parking Requirements for Continuing Care Retirement Community, Assisted Living and Nursing Home – Petition
This article is a citizen’s petition related to the Golden Pond Assisted Living Residence.

#50 Transfer Ownership of Public Library from Library Trustees to Town – Board of Selectmen
Did you know that the Hopkinton Public Library is privately owned but publicly funded? This article will transfer ownership of the library to the town. Our library was created by private citizens in 1895 and has been managed by a seven-member Board of Trustees ever since. In 1955, the Town of Hopkinton began paying for the operating expenses, including staff salaries, utilities and insurance. Today the Town pays for about 80% of our Library’s entire budget. However, the library building is still owned by the Board of Library Trustees. The Trustees pay only for the maintenence of the Library building. In FY 2009, this expense was about $16,000, or just 3% of the total budget of the Library. Transferring the ownership of the building to the town will streamline management of the library, allow the library to utilize the buying power of the town, and make it easier for the library to apply for state grants. To pass Article 50, and make the library a town-owned building, a 2/3 vote is needed.

#51 Authorize Board of Selectmen to Seek Authority to Apply for Grants for the Expansion and Construction of the Public Library – Board of Selectmen
This article authorizes the Board of Selectmen to apply for, accept and expend any state, federal or other grants that may be available to defray all or part of the cost to design, construct and equip a new or expanded library building.

#52 Change in CPA Surcharge – Town Manager

(See also article #29 CPA Projects for 2010)
This article would change the surcharge on the taxes assessed annually on real property in the Town from 2% to 1.1%; provided, however, that this vote shall not take effect until the voters at the May 2010 Annual Town Election vote to change the surcharge on the taxes assessed annually on real property in the Town from 2% to 1.1%.
Background Information: Under the provisions of the Community Preservation Act (CPA), Hopkinton established a Community Preservation Committee in 2001. The Community Preservation Committee shall make recommendations to Town Meeting for the acquisition, creation, and preservation of open space; for the acquisition and preservation of historic resources; for the acquisition creation, and preservation of land for recreational use; for the creation, preservation, and support of community housing; and for rehabilitation or restoration of such open space, historic resources, land for recreational use and community housing that is acquired or created using Community Preservation Committee funds. The following projects were funded by CPA funds in Hopkinton from 2002-2009:

ADA Compliance – CAA building $50,000.00
ADA Compliance – Library $10,000.00
ADA Compliance – Town Hall $13,000.00
Athletic fields – Fruit Street $1,000,000.00
CAA barn restoration $200,000.00
Cemetery (Evergreen) – replace/restore sign $1,000.00
Cemetery fence – historical preservation $20,000.00
East Hopkinton Master Plan $200,000.00
EMC house, Hayward St. – affordable house $100,000.00
Fruit Street – land acquisition $2,000,000.00
Historic building survey update $5,000.00
Historic district signage $22,500.00
Historical preservation & restoration of records – Library $15,000.00
Historical preservation & restoration of records – Town Clerk $40,000.00
Historical Society building, Hayden Rowe St. – historical preservation, renovation $250,000.00
Hopkinton Center Trail – create multi-use trail $35,000.00
Lake Maspenock dam – historical preservation $10,000.00
Mayhew Court – 12 unit affordable housing development $450,000.00
McFarland-Sanger House, 146 Lumber St. – historical preservation $45,000.00
Old railroad depot – move to town land, renovate/historic preservation $18,000.00
Reed Park – restoration $30,000.00
Reed Park – tennis courts $150,000.00
Sandy Beach – benches $5,000.00
Sandy Beach – kiosk $3,500.00
South Mill St dam – historic restoration/preservation $91,000.00
Spring Street – open space land acquisition $97,000.00
Stewardship of town owned land $5,000.00
Stone arch bridge, Cedar St. – restore/preserve $5,000.00
Town Common – old fountain restoration $20,000.00
Town Hall – drainage/foundation work $49,000.00
Town Hall – landscaping & drainage $10,000.00
Whitehall conservation area – land acquisition, demolition of house, construction of trails and parking area $1,826,000.00
Whitehall gatehouse – restoration $40,000.00
Winter Street – open space land acquisition $300,000.00

For More Information:
The following budget documents are available on the Hopkinton town and school websites.
PDF 2009 Town Report
PDF Fiscal year 2011 Proposed Budget
PDF Annual Town Meeting Warrant May 3, 2010
PDF Ballot – Annual Town Election May 17, 2010
PDF School Committee’s Final FY 11 Budget Booklet
Video State of the Schools Forum

Meet the Candidates Night Sponsored by the Hopkinton Women’s Club

Thursday, May 6, 7:00 p.m.

HCAM Studios, 77 Main St, Hopkinton MA 01748
Comcast Channel 8/Verizon Channel 30

State of the Town Tomorrow Morning, Candidates Debate on Wednesday, FY11 Budget Recap

2010 State of the Town Forum by the Hopkinton Chamber of CommerceTuesday, April 27 at 7:30-9:00 a.m.
First Congregational Church of Hopkinton, 146 East Main St, Hopkinton MA 01748
(Also broadcast on HCAM-TV, Comcast Channel 8/Verizon Channel 30)
Hear from a variety of Hopkinton Town Officials on the current state of our Town. A great primer for the upcoming Town Meeting on May 3! This event is both free and open to the public.

Candidates Debate Sponsored by the Hopkinton Independent

Wednesday, April 28, 7:00 p.m.

HCAM-TV, 77 Main St, Hopkinton MA 01748
Comcast Channel 8/Verizon Channel 30

Annual Town Meeting
Begins Monday, May 3 at 7:00 p.m. (continues on consecutive days until complete)
Hopkinton Middle School Auditorium, 88 Hayden Rowe St, Hopkinton MA 01748
(Also broadcast on HCAM-TV, Comcast Channel 8/Verizon Channel 30)

Meet the Candidates Night Sponsored by the Hopkinton Women’s Club

Thursday, May 6, 7:00 p.m.

HCAM Studios, 77 Main St, Hopkinton MA 01748
Comcast Channel 8/Verizon Channel 30

RECAP Appropriations Committee Public Hearing on the FY11 Budget

Overview: The Appropriations Committee held a public hearing on the 2010-11 Budget this past Thursday evening. It was NOT televised. The Chairman noted attendance was greater than they have had in many years. The Appropriations Committee presented a $61,356,071.17 Recommended Budget. Massachusetts state aid to towns is still unknown at this time. The proposed budget assumes a 4% cut in state aid. As the budget stands now, Hopkinton will be taking a 1.8% tax increase (of the available 2.5%) for FY11. If the proposed budget is passed, Eldridge stated that Hopkinton will have roughly $1,000,000 in untapped proposition 2.5% levy reserves from the last two years, which could be tapped in future years without an override. As the economy improves in future years, Chairman Eldridge expects that the town will take the full 2.5% tax increase and perhaps even more. In addition Hopkinton will have roughly $1,000,000 in its stabilization fund if the proposed budget passes.

CPA: The Appropriations Committee recommends a reduction in taxpayer contributions to the Community Preservation Act (CPA) fund from 2% to 1.1% next year. [NOTE: The Community Preservation Committee does not support the reduction and voted in an earlier meeting not to reduce the CPA contribution, but to keep the contribution at 2% next year.] Hopkinton puts about $310,000 into the CPA fund each year. The 100% match from the state has been reduced to approximately 31-32%. Residents will have a chance to weigh in at Town Meeting.

Highlighted Changes: Chairman Eldridge highlighted some recent changes to the budget from the first one voted on by the Board of Selectmen. The new proposed budget includes a $290,000 increase in pavement management funds, because the town has a large backlog of bad roads needing repairs. It also includes a $352,000 increase in the cost of healthcare benefits for town and school employees. The town pays 75% of a town or school employee’s family healthcare plan and it pays 85% of a single employee’s healthcare plan. The proposed budget includes a $144,000 increase in Information Technology (IT) improvements for Town Hall, which had been very out of date.

School Department: Chairman Eldridge also noted that the School Department is receiving $300,000 in stimulus funding this year, but this revenue source will not be available next year. School Committee Chair Nancy Burdick noted that the stimulus money was not used for salaries, but for other school budget items, such as prepaying out-of-district SPED tuition. The Appropriations Committee’s recommended budget allocates $170,000 less to the schools than they requested. The School Committee has not yet determined what items will have to be cut from their budget to account for this discrepancy of $170,000.

After submitting their budget to the Town Manager, the School Department learned it would receive $106,477 (part of the $300,000 stimulus total listed above) in federal stimulus money for FY11 only. This amount had originally been earmarked for higher education, but was reassigned by the governor to local education due to cuts in state education aid. Rather than put this money toward the $170,000 budget discrepancy, the Appropriations Committee recommends reducing the amount paid by Hopkinton taxpayers toward the School Budget by $106,477. The tax savings would be minimal: about a $18/year or $1.50/month for the average homeowner.

For More Information:
The following budget documents are available on the Hopkinton town and school websites.
PDF 2009 Town Report
PDF Fiscal year 2011 Proposed Budget
PDF Annual Town Meeting Warrant May 3, 2010
PDF School Committee’s Preliminary FY 11 Budget Jan 28, 2010
PPT School Committee Public Hearing FY 11 Budget Presentation
PPT Superintendent’s Preliminary FY 11 Budget Presentation
Video State of the Schools Forum

Public Hearing on the FY11 Budget this Thursday, Candidate Debates coming up and the State of the Schools recap

Appropriations Committee Public Hearing on the FY11 Budget
Thursday, April 22 at 8:00 p.m. at Town Hall/Room 215, 18 Main St

The Selectmen and the School Committee have submitted their budgets. The Appropriations Committee has reviewed them in detail and will now hold a public hearing on the 2010-11 Budget. The public hearing will NOT be televised, but residents are welcome to attend. Residents who are out of town for vacation week or who are otherwise unable to attend should feel free to send their comments and questions on the budget to the appropriate school and town officials by email in advance of the public hearing. The following budget documents are available on the Hopkinton town and school websites:
PDF 2009 Town Report
PDF Fiscal year 2011 Proposed Budget
PDF Annual Town Meeting Warrant May 3, 2010
PDF School Committee’s Preliminary FY 11 Budget Jan 28, 2010
PPT School Committee Public Hearing FY 11 Budget Presentation
PPT Superintendent’s Preliminary FY 11 Budget Presentation

Appropriations Committee:

Ron Eldridge, Chair roneldridge289@msn.com
Joe Karner Karner_joe@emc.com
Stuart Cowart stuart.cowart@vzw.blackberry.net
Mary Lou Haroian mlharoian@comcast.net

Town Manager:
Norman Khumalo nkhumalo@hopkinton.org
Board of Selectmen:
Brian Herr: bherr@hopkinton.org
Matt Zettek: mzettek@hopkinton.org
RJ Dourney: rjdourney@hopkinton.org
Todd Cestari: tcestari@hopkinton.org
Michele Gates: mgates@hopkinton.org

Superintendent of Schools:

Jack Phelan jphelan@hopkinton.k12.ma.us

School Committee:
Nancy Burdick, Chair: nancyb88@hotmail.com
Rebecca Robak: rebeccarobak@aol.com
Richard Demont: rdemont@demontlaw.com
Jean Bertschmann: jeanber65@hotmail.com
Troy Mick: troymick@verizon.net

Save the Date: Candidates Debate Sponsored by the Hopkinton Independent

Wednesday, April 28, 7:00 p.m.

HCAM-TV, 77 Main St, Hopkinton MA 01748
Comcast Channel 8/Verizon Channel 30

Save the Date: Meet the Candidates Night Sponsored by the Hopkinton Women’s Club

Thursday, May 6, 7:00 p.m.

HCAM Studios, 77 Main St, Hopkinton MA 01748
Comcast Channel 8/Verizon Channel 30

Recap:  The State of the Schools
The HPTA held its annual State of the Schools forum on April 7 which included a question and answer session with Superintendent Jack Phelan and School Committee Vice Chair Rebecca Robak. If you missed it, you can watch the replay on the HCAM-TV website at http://www.hcam.tv/series/HPTA/video.shtml (1 hour). The following questions were posed:

  1. What is the one-to-one laptop initiative at the High School? It seems very expensive. Why do we need it, and when is it targeted to begin?
  2. Many families are struggling in this economy. Fees are already a burden for some. Are fees going to increase? Could you offer a family cap or sliding scale based on income?
  3. Are there any plans to improve the current foreign language program? 
  4. Is there concern that there is an uptick in students attending schools out of district? 
  5. Kindergarten enrollment is on the rise – now estimated to be 23/class. Will another teacher be hired to keep class sizes from getting even larger?
  6. Can we get better food in our schools? For instance, 100% whole grain pasta, rice, and bread. Get rid of chicken nuggets, hamburgers, and french fries every day. why are we letting our kids choose junk food in the cafeteria? If it’s not there, they won’t eat it.
  7. What do you foresee for the schools next year if they don’t receive the School Committee’s budget with recent increase?
  8. Both of my boys (Hopkins and Elmwood) have experienced bullying and behavior problems on the bus this year. I read that Milford has a successful “Bus of the Month” program which helps promote good behavior and safety on the buses. Would Hopkinton Public Schools consider adopting a similar program?
  9. How many years does it take for a teacher to be tenured in Massachusetts? And is there a review process in place for teachers once they do receive tenure?
  10. Why are our children being pulled out of their academic classes in 5th grade to learn an instrument? While these lessons are amazing, can we have them either before or after school or during electives such as gym, art, or general music?
  11. We recently learned that Dr. Lynch, the Middle School Principal will be retiring at the end of the year. When will the search process for a new principal begin?
  12. How do you plan to improve middle school and high school academics? The high school was ranked around 450 on a national report. It is not bad, but how do you plan to make it much better?

Open Forum on the Hopkinton Public Library, Meet the Middle School Principal Candidates and Election Deadlines this Week

Open Forum on Future of the Hopkinton Public Library
Monday April 12 at 7:00 p.m. at the Hopkinton Library

Did you know that the Hopkinton Public Library is funded by the Town of Hopkinton but is privately owned? Under this arrangement, the trustees currently fund all building expenses, but the Town pays for salaries, utilities and books.

The Hopkinton Library Board of Trustees want to hear from you! To kick off National Library Week, the Trustees will hold a public forum on April 12, 2010 to give a brief overview of the unique ownership structure of the library and the objectives of the recently proposed transfer of ownership to the town – which will be voted at the May town meeting. The overview will be followed by a question and answer session. So please come and meet the Trustees at 7:00 pm at the library for this informative event.

Meet the Hopkinton Middle School Principal Candidates
Wednesday, April 14 at 7:00 p.m. in the Middle School Auditorium

UPDATE: The Appropriations Committee Public Hearing on the FY11 Budget has been rescheduled for April 21 or 22. Details to come. The Following documents have recently been posted to the Hopkinton town website:
PDF 2009 Town Report
PDF Fiscal year 2011 Proposed Budget
PDF Annual Town Meeting Warrant May 3, 2010

REMINDER: Last Day to File Nomination Papers – Monday, April 12
Would you like to help shape the future of Hopkinton? There are several elected positions within Hopkinton Town Government that are up for re-election this year. This includes positions on the Board of Selectmen, the School Committee, the Planning Board, and several others. The last day to file nomination papers is April 12. Town Elections will be held May 17. Please visit the Town Clerk’s elections web page (http://www.hopkinton.org/gov/clerk/elections.htm) for more details.

REMINDER: Last Day to Register to Vote – Tuesday, April 13
Are you registered to vote? Town Meeting is coming up (begins May 3), and in order to vote on the school budget and many other town services, you must be a registered voter. The deadline to register to vote is April 13 at the Town Clerk’s office (office hours are weekdays 8am-4:30pm, and until 7pm on Tuesdays). Please visit the Town Clerk’s elections web page (http://www.hopkinton.org/gov/clerk/elections.htm) for more details and be sure to remind friends that have just moved to town and may not yet be registered.

Important School Update: State of the Schools Forum, Per Pupil Spending, School Choice and more

School Facts: How have budget cuts over recent years impacted Hopkinton Schools?

Per Pupil Spending
Hopkinton spends 11.5% less in per pupil than the state average (that’s approximately $1,503 less), based on FY09 data on the Massachusetts Department of Education website. In FY06, Hopkinton was only 5.9% under the state average. Hopkinton also spends less per pupil than most neighboring towns, including Ashland, Holliston, Northboro-Southboro and Westborough. In addition Hopkinton spends less per pupil than most towns with similar structure and district wealth, such as Belmont, Burlington, Canton, Nashoba and Sharon.

School Choice & Charter Schools
Did you know that for the 2009-10 School Year, Hopkinton sent 41 students out of district via the Massachusetts School Choice Program and/or to Charter Schools at a mandated cost of $235,371 to Hopkinton taxpayers? More Hopkinton families opted to send their children out of district this year than families in Holliston, Southborough and Westborough. The number of Hopkinton students opting to go out of district via School Choice has been steadily increasing since the 2005-06 school year.

Class Sizes
Class sizes in the elementary grades are currently higher than most surrounding school districts. Did you know that both Elmwood School and Hopkins School currently have empty classrooms? If another teacher was added at each school class sizes could be significantly reduced.

Foreign Language
Did you know that Hopkinton Public Schools do not offer any foreign language instruction until grade 7? It used to be offered as early as grade 5. Most neighboring school districts offer foreign language earlier than Hopkinton, some offering it as early as Kindergarten.

State of the Schools Forum

Wednesday, April 7 at 7:00-9:00 p.m.
HCAM-TV, 77 Main Street, Lower Level
Question and answer session with Superintendent Dr. Jack Phelan and School Committee Vice Chair Rebecca Robak. Call 508-435-7887 during the show with your questions and concerns or email them to secretary@hptaonline.com in advance or during the show. Space is Limited! Click here to RSVP. Or watch at home on Comcast Channel 8/Verizon Channel 30.

The Next Steps in the Budget Process:
The budget has been given to the Appropriations Committee who are in the process of reviewing the budget in detail. The Appropriations Committee will hold a Public Hearing on the budget on Wednesday, April 14 at 7:00 p.m. at Town Hall in the 1st Floor Conference Room. This hearing is NOT televised, but is open to the public. Residents will vote on the budget and the financial warrant articles at the annual Town Meeting, which begins Monday, May 3 at 7:00pm.