At the March 1 Board of Selectmen Meeting the Town Manager presented FY17 Town Budget Comprehensive Budget and Financing Plan, after feedback from the Selectmen it has been revised for the next Selectmen’s meeting. Per the Town Charter the Board of Selectmen must either adopt or amend Town Manager’s budget, and submit to the Appropriation Committee by March 15. There have been some news articles about the budget discussions at the 3/1 and 3/8 Selectmen’s meetings.
Board of Selectmen Meeting Tuesday, March 15 at 6:45pm, Town Hall Room 215
Televised Live on HCAM-TV (Comcast 8 / Verizon 30 / Streaming at hcam.tv)
Public comment period at 6:45pm at the beginning of the meeting.
The Appropriation Committee (AC) is holding its Public Hearing on the budget Wednesday, April 16th in Town Hall at 6:30PM in preparation for Annual Town Meeting. At the April 2nd Appropriation Committee meeting, the AC did not support the FY15 budget with the Hopkinton Public School’s initiative for tuition free Full Day Kindergarten. Residents are invited to attend the Public Hearing to provide their input on the proposed AC budget recommendations.
The School Committee approved the FY15 budget at their January 30 meeting which included a tuition-free full day kindergarten program. A $350,000 placeholder was put on the town meeting warrant for temporary modular classrooms to help house the FDK program. At the February 27 school committee meeting, Dr. Cathy MacLeod asked that the modulars be removed from the town warrant and the school committee voted in favor of removing the article. MacLeod explained the modulars were put on the warrant as a placeholder while 3 different options were researched for housing the full day kindergarten program. The options included temporary modular classrooms, splitting students between Elmwood and Center School or housing the program within the Center School building. After careful consideration of all 3 options and consultation with her administrative staff, Dr. MacLeod decided housing the program within Center School was the best options for the students, teachers and town. Dr. MacLeod acknowledged there will be some space issues within the Center School but noted that this will not have an impact on class sizes or classroom space.
The draft of the 2014-2015 school calendar was presented to the school committee last week. The proposed calendar has the first day of school on Thursday, September 4. Early release days will remain on Fridays. No major changes were made to next year’s school calendar but Dr. MacLeod announced she is considering removing some of the religious holidays for future school calendars. She would also like to see one school break after the Christmas holiday. A possibility would be removing February vacation and moving April vacation to March. This would require working with area school districts in order for this to work as it would impact sport schedules and have significant impact on many teachers’ families who live in the surrounding towns.
If you would like to give feedback on the draft calendar, please email your comments and questions to Dr MacLeod and the School Committee.
Public Hearing on the School Budget
Thursday, January 30 at 7:30pm
Middle School Library
Attend in person or watch on HCAM-TV (Comcast Channel 8/Verizon Channel 30/ Streaming live on hcam.tv)
ATTENTION! This is your chance to voice your opinion on free vs tuition-based Full Day Kindergarten, fees to parents or any other school budget topic before the School Committee votes on a budget to submit to the Town Manager.
The evening will start with a revised budget presentation by Superintendent Dr Cathy MacLeod. Click here to view the Superintendent’s Revised Budget. Dr. MacLeod will take the opportunity to reflect on all of her data collection, discussion, feedback and decision making to date to present a cleaned up, revised School District Budget presentation for 2014-15 (FY15) for the School Committee to deliberate on. At their meeting last week, the majority of the School Committee indicated that they would prefer tuition-based (not free) Full Day Kindergarten next year and that they would like to see a 10% reduction in bus, parking, and athletic fees. Dr. MacLeod’s revised budget represents a 4.91% increase over last year, includes tuition-free full day Kindergarten, and includes the requested 10% reduction in fees.
The revised budget presentation will be followed by the public hearing, where the school committee chair will recognize audience members who wish to make a comment and have them come to the microphone one at a time to address the school committee on camera.
After the public hearing the School Committee will deliberate on the revised FY15 School District Budget to approve a School Committee FY15 Budget request to forward on to the Town Manager by the February 1 deadline.
The School Committee will be having a regular meeting this week on Thursday, January 16 at 7:30pm in the Middle School Library. The public comment period is scheduled for 8:30pm after the Full Day Kindergarten Discussion. You may attend in person or watch on HCAM-TV (Comcast Channel 8/Verizon Channel 30). In addition to the Full Day Kindergarten discussion, this week’s meeting will include a discussion of updates to the Transportation (bus) Policy, as well as budget presentations for the Central Office, Buildings and Grounds, and the Curriculum Department.
Dr. MacLeod has included in the FY2015 budget a proposal to make full-day kindergarten available to all students. It is currently proposed in the budget as tuition-based full-day kindergarten with half day kindergarten option. With this plan, some kindergarten or first grade classes may need to be housed at Elmwood School.
Another option was presented byDr. MacLeod to offer full-day kindergarten to all students tuition-free with no half day sessions. A placeholder has been put on the warrant for town meeting for modular classrooms to support this effort.
Dr. MacLeod will make her final recommendation for this proposal at tonight’s School Committee meeting with public comment following per the agenda.