Tag Archives: Cost Saving Measures

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
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

HopkintonPatch: 5 Preliminary Budget Recommendations
By Sean O’Donnell

Hopkinton Crier: Hopkinton may revive high school laptop plan
By Michael Morton/Daily News staff

Hopkinton Crier: Hopkinton school budget meeting is Jan. 5
By Michael Morton/Daily News staff

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

#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
(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

Town and School Budget Season is in Full Swing. Four School Committee Budget Working Sessions this month.

Despite the business of the holidays, all Town Departments were working to submit their 2010-11 budgets to the Town Manager by December 31st. There are many updates for you to be aware of. As you may know, all departments were asked to submit budgets based on a 2.65% reduction of the amount of their 2009-10 budgets.

At the request of the School Committee, Superintendent Phelan presented two budget scenarios to the School Committee on December 17, 2009: The “Superintendent’s Budget” scenario represents an increase of $807,859 over the FY 10 budget, and keeps services as close to those offered in FY10 as possible. The “(2.65%) Budget” scenario reduces the FY10 budget amount by $854,617. The difference between the two budget scenarios presented is $1,662,476.

According to Dr Phelan’s presentation, the (2.65%) Budget will result in the following scenario:

  • Class Sizes would increase. At the elementary levels, the increase could be by 2 to 3 students per class:
Gr. 1
Gr. 2
Gr. 3
Gr. 4
Gr. 5
Gr. 6
Gr. 7
Gr. 8
2009-10 students per class
Projected 2010-11 students per class

  • The percentage of High School core classes with over 25 students per class would rise from 18% to 22%.
  • The 5th grade instrumental music program would be cut.
  • The Middle School related arts program would be reduced.
  • High School Guidance staff would be reduced.
  • 4 Freshman athletic teams and 1 MS athletic team would be reduced.
  • Late buses would be eliminated at Hopkins, Middle and High Schools.
  • 13.4 Teachers would need to be laid off: 9.8 Regular Education and 3.6 Special Education Teachers

Dr. Phelan’s Presentation also detailed cost savings, revenue enhancements, and staffing changes over the past five years:

  • The schools have seen a total reduction in staff of 34.7. During those years, student enrollment has only dropped by 8.
  • The school district has generated $8.8 million in revenue enhancements through grants, fees, gifts and other proactive measures. Of that amount, $3.3 million has come from athletic, transportation, and community use fees.
  • The school district has realized $5.1 million in cost savings and efficiencies, including improving in-district Special Education programs; technology and administrative reorganizations; cooperative purchasing through professional collaboratives; and green initiatives. 

To view the PowerPoint presentation in its entirety click here:
(Works best in Internet Explorer)

The best way to stay informed on this important matter so that you can be a part of the decision making is to attend the next four School Committee meetings in January in which the Committee will review and ask questions about both the Superintendent’s Budget and the (2.65)% Budget by department.

  • Thurs Jan 7 at 7:30pm – Regular Meeting and Working Session to discuss High School, Middle School and Athletics Budgets
  • Thurs Jan 14 at 7:30pm – Working Session to discuss Special Education, Buildings and Grounds and Central Office Budgets
  • Thurs Jan 21 at 7:30pm – Regular Meeting and Working Session to discuss Elementary Schools and Technology Budgets
  • Thurs Jan 28 at 7:00pm – Public Hearing on the 2010-11 Budget and Working Session

Please note the public hearing and budget “working session” portions of all the meetings above are NOT televised, but are open to the public. The meetings are held in the Middle School Library.

If you wish to voice your opinion on any matter, please attend the meeting in person, and/or email the School Committee and Board of Selectmen directly.

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

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

Town Manager:
Norman Khumalo: nkhumalo@hopkinton.org

Potential Tax Increase, Special Town Meeting Scheduled, School Finance Update and District MCAS Results

Tax Increase May Be Needed
The Board of Selectmen (BOS) indicated at its October 19, 2009 meeting that any state cut in local aid may now have to be covered solely by raising property taxes. As we noted in our last e-mail, the state is facing a severe tax revenue shortage and town funding from the state has already fallen short of earlier predictions, with more potential cuts looming. Town officials had discussed trimming department budgets or incorporating unspent cash from previous years to cover the potential funding gap Hopkinton will face because of state cuts, but the cash has not been released yet by the state.

Special Town Meeting for Wastewater Treatment Plant
The BOS has posted a special Town Meeting for December 14, with a December 21 snow date.The warrant for the meeting opens this Thursday (October 22) and closes Nov. 5 at 4:30 p.m. The main purpose of the Special Town Meeting is to request funding for the Fruit Street Wastewater Treatment Facility project. While the town’s unspent budget money could be state-certified and available for additional spending by December, the BOS is asking town departments not to make any requests. For more on this issue, see Hopkinton Town Meeting to Focus on Sewage Plant at http://www.wickedlocal.com/hopkinton/news/x1718695307/Hopkinton-Town-Meeting-to-focus-on-sewage-plant

School Finances

The October 15, 2009 School Committee focused on finances and the district’s MCAS results. Cost-saving measures discussed included the Middle School NSTAR project, a transition plan to cover the maternity leave of the Director of Student Services, and a creative agreement to bring new funding sources online with a license agreement with local business, Phipps Insurance. The School Committee directed the School Department to continue to look for efficiencies and institute a freeze on non-essential spending. They discussed the potential further cuts to local aid for FY10, and planned an e-mail to the Town Manager indicating their support for any and all potential sources of revenue to be fully explored prior to making further cuts to the FY10 Budget. Superintendent Phelan noted that there has never been such a low balance in the Circuit Breaker Account, which is used for pay for state mandated, but unfunded, special education costs.

District MCAS Results
In addition to the finance discussion, Dr. Mary Colombo also gave a presentation on the MCAS results–citing promising scores in English Language Arts for grades 3 through 6 and in Math for grades 3 and 6. But she also noted the challenges in Math for grades 4, 5, 7 and 8, and in Science across the elementary and middle school grades. For more information, see the following articles: