Category Archives: FY14 Budget

Town Meeting Results Day 1

IMG_1707REPORTS
Article 1: Acceptance of Town Reports PASSED

FINANCIAL – FISCAL YEAR 2013
Article 2: FY 2013 Supplemental Appropriations PASSED
Article 3: FY 2013 Budget Transfers NO ACTION
Article 4: Unpaid Bills from Previous Fiscal Years PASSED
Article 5: Property Tax Exemption Increase PASSED

FINANCIAL – FISCAL YEAR 2014
Article 6: Amend the Salary of an Elected Official PASSED
Article 7: FY 2014 Operating Budget PASSED

  • AMENDMENT from Ken Weismantel: Increase pavement management by $100,000 FAILED
  • AMENDMENT from Jim Cirello: Hold Highway Dept line item 421 $130,000 until after article 62. PASSED

Article 8: FY 2014 Revolving Funds PASSED
Article 9: Chapter 90 Highway Funds PASSED
Article 10: Opposition to Casino Siting PASSED

  • AMENDMENT by Wendy Zimmerman to change “opposing” to “connection with” PASSED

Article 11: Transfer to Capital Expense Stabilization Fund PASSED
Article 12: Transfer to General Stabilization Fund NO ACTION
Article 13: Other Post Employment Benefits Liability Trust Fund PASSED
Article 14: Authorization of Term of Transportation Contract PASSED

CAPITAL EXPENSES AND PROJECTS
Article 15: Pay-As-You-Go Capital Expenses NO ACTION
Article 16: Integrated Financial Management System PASSED
Article 17: Elementary School Feasibility Study PASSED
Article 18: Joint Information Technology PASSED
Article 19: Emergency Generator-Hopkins School PASSED
Article 20: Middle School Auditorium Upgrades NO ACTION
Article 21: Loop Road Repair PASSED
Article 22: Building & Grounds Equipment- Tractor-Mower PASSED
Article 23: Police Station Drainage and Basement Improvements PASSED
Article 24: Police-Vehicles PASSED

Town Meeting Begins Tomorrow at 7:00pm

Seal of the Town of Hopkinton 1715Hopkinton Annual Town Meeting Day 1
Monday, May 6 at 7:00-11:00pm
Hopkinton Middle School Auditorium
There are 68 articles to vote on in the warrant this year. Town meeting will repeat the following evenings 7:00-11:00pm until all the articles are voted. We expect Town Meeting to last 2-3 evenings. A list of articles and our Town Meeting 101 is included below.

Useful Documents:

Continue reading Town Meeting Begins Tomorrow at 7:00pm

“Know Your Vote” Before Town Meeting

Know Your Vote Fall 2012In preparation for Annual Town Meeting Educate Hopkinton will be hosting a “Know Your Vote” Question and Answer Forum on Wednesday, May 1 at 6:30-8:00 pm at HCAM-TV Studios, 77 Main St (Lower Level), Hopkinton. Residents are invited to attend the forum in person or watch on TV (Verizon Channel 30, Comcast Channel 8, Streaming Live at www.hcam.tv). Residents may submit questions in advance or during the show by email to knowyourvote@educatehopkinton.com or call the studio at 508.435.7887 to ask your question live on the air. Panelists available at the forum to answer your questions about any of the Town Meeting articles will be Selectmen Chair Ben Palleiko, Town Moderator Dr Bruce Karlin, Appropriation Chair  Mike Manning, Superintendent Dr Steven Hiersche, School Committee Chair Nancy Burdick, Planning Board Chair Ken Weismantel and Elementary School Building Committee Chair Joe Markey.

Important Info:
Annual Town Meeting begins Monday, May 6 at 7:00pm in the Middle School Auditorium. It generally stops at 11:00pm and is continued on consecutive evenings until the full warrant is voted. There are 68 articles on the warrant this year. Town Meeting typically lasts 2-4 nights.

School Calendar Draft Updates

In our last blog, we posted a link to the draft school calendar for 2013-14. It turned out to be the most clicked-on link we posted to our blog all year, so we wanted to send out an update. The calendar is still not final, but the School Committee and Dr Hiersche did discuss it in more detail at their February 28 meeting. Click here to view the most recent DRAFT Calendar. The Superintendent and School Committee have received a lot of feedback from parents and many common questions were answered in the meeting. eHop is providing a summary below.

  • Early Release – The number of Early Release days is contractual. A new teacher contract was just ratified this week. Dr. Hiersche said that he has negotiated down Early Release days mid-contract before (in another district), but he said, “it is dicey.”
  • Starting Before Labor Day – It is also contractual that school cannot start prior to Labor Day unless Labor Day is late enough in September. No other discussion occurred around this topic.
  • One March vacation instead of both February and April – Dr. Hiersche had a lot of interesting data on this change as he taught in a school once that switched over to a March vacation. He did note the school went back to two vacations shortly after. The issues with one vacation that he shared:
    • MCAS – MCAS goes throughout March. All schools in Massachusetts must take the MCAS on the same days. Because most districts in Massachusetts have vacations in February and April, the best time for state testing is March. View the 2013-14 MCAS Dates set by the state
    • They found attendance was low during the traditional vacation weeks in February and April because families were still taking vacations then in order to line up with extended families that had those weeks off.
    • Tournament games tend to be scheduled around the vacations and it made it difficult for his district to participate with their competing districts.
    • Teachers struggled to find childcare for their children in February and April because some daycare centers close down.
  • Removing religious holidays – Hiersche said this proposal would come ripe with controversy. He talked about how we are in the region of Keefe Tech. Many of the schools within this region try to line up their school calendars for scheduling purposes. Some School Committee members suggested perhaps doing  a survey on this and other calendar topics next year.
  • Prom – The early release day is NOT because of prom. It is one of the contractual early release days but it is conveniently placed on that Friday to eliminate the bottleneck that occurs as a result of the before prom festivities for parents and community members at the high school.
  • Tuesday Professional Days in November and March – Area districts place their professional development days on Tuesday Election Days so the children aren’t in school during the busy election day when so many people are entering the building to vote. Every second year, there are no November/March elections in small towns like Hopkinton, but there are elections every year in many Massachusetts cities. The districts take part in a lot of professional development programs with other cities and towns because it allows for a greater variety of offerings and significant cost savings. Therefore, the districts like to schedule their professional days on the same days.

Continue reading School Calendar Draft Updates

Teacher Contract Ratified 2012-2015

At their meeting on February 28, the School Committee ratified a 3-year contract with the Hopkinton Teachers’ Association. It was ratified by a 5 to 1 vote, with all School Committee members in favor and Town Manager Norman Khumalo opposed. The contract covers September 1, 2012 to August 31, 2015. It includes a 2% wage increase per year, which allows the district to keep its salaries competitive with surrounding communities.

According to a press release the Agreement also provides the Administration with payroll administration changes that will assist in decreasing overhead for payroll processing; a sick leave system for new employees that limits annual accrual; updated FMLA benefit language consistent with changes in federal law; clarification of leave of absence policies to allow the administration to better manage the resulting staffing coverage issues; and provisions allowing the Town to implement changes in health insurance plan design consistent with the legislative reforms and at the same time as any such changes are implemented for other Town employees.

The contract had been in the negotiation for a long time and had to go to mediation. Interim Superintendent, Dr. Steven Hiersche said, “Although it was, at times, a difficult process, all parties worked together to craft an agreement that is ultimately in the best interest of the students of the Hopkinton Public Schools, while recognizing the contributions of our valued professional teaching staff and honoring the current financial constraints of the Town.”

Draft School Calendar for Next Year

At the February 7 School Committee meeting, Dr Hiersche presented the first draft of the school calendar for 2013-14. Click here to view the DRAFT Calendar. Dr Hiersche made some changes from the typical Hopkinton calendar, such as moving Early Release Days to Fridays. The fall Early Release dates, typically used for Parent-Teacher Conferences, have been clustered together in November, with no Early Release dates in September or December and only one Early Release date in October. Many of the Spring Early Release dates are paired with a three-day weekend. The School Committee is expected to vote on the final calendar at either their March 7 or March 21 regular meeting. If you would like to give feedback on these changes, please email your comments and questions to Dr Hiersche and the School Committee by March 5:
shiersche@hopkinton.k12.ma.us, hpsschoolcommittee@hopkinton.k12.ma.us

View the DRAFT 2013-14 Calendar

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:

Teacher Evaluations – New State Mandate

You may have noticed a budget line item of $271,000 in Hopkinton’s 2013-14 budget for Educator Supervision and Evaluation. This is due to the new state regulations requiring more frequent and more detailed teacher evaluations. Although the new system is expected to produce better results, it is also very time-consuming for principals, assistant principals and department heads. BaselineEdge has estimated that for a principal to evaluate 30 teachers under the new guidelines, it will take 315 hours per year, or 15-20% of their total school year time. In Hopkinton this will mean additional staff to be hired next year and new software to be purchased to help with this time-consuming task. Here is the breakdown in the budget:

  • +$83,500 (approx.) for an Additional 1.0 FTE Assistant Principal at the Elementary Level. Currently Elmwood and Hopkins SHARE an Assistant Principal and Center has NO Assistant Principal. With this addition there would be a total of 2.0 Assistant Principals shared between our three Elementary Schools.
  • +$83,500 (approx.) for an Additional 1.0 FTE Assistant Principal at the Middle School. The Middle School currently has one Assistant Principal, they would now have two.
  • +$84,000 (approx.) to reduce the course loads of High School curricular leaders and department heads. This would give them more time to do the new teacher evaluations and observations.
  • $20,000 (approx.) Teacher Evaluation Software Package. Several packages are being considered, the exact software package has not been selected yet. 
  • Read more in the Supervision/Evaluation Budget Summary on the School Committee website.

Continue reading Teacher Evaluations – New State Mandate