Sunday Notes May 15th 2016

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The Lowell School Committee passed their $158 million dollar operating budget this past Wednesday night. The budget included 21 position cuts, which is far less than what the last school committee warned about.

That leaves the question of whose correct? Was the last committee just so anti-Union led by Mayor Elliott that comments like ” Approving a contract that will require layoffs and impact all the progress made in the schools is irresponsible and counterproductive.” were just meaningless words?

Or is this School a Committee that unseasoned that they approved a budget built like a house of cards and ready to crash mid year? A real concern for city officials.

Why wasn’t this issue / statement published in the budget book by the Supt. fully addressed by the School Committee? Are they purposely leaving wiggle room and a built-in excuse when and if this budget ends up short in January or February?

A general fund operating budget of $ 158.4 million to be reduced by the transportation costs of $7,819,660 is required to accomplish these initiatives. The transportation costs are paid by the Lowell Public Schools, however it is the responsibility of the City. This requires an additional amount of $7,819,660 to fund transportation bringing the total budget to $158.4 million.

Conspiracy Theories

1) “They” or “People” at City Hall don’t want this Supt and that’s why we have to support him by giving him a contract.

2) School Committeeman Bob Hoey at budget hearing ” school choice list is manipulated to give preference to those who are connected. I know cause Ive done it myself!

Finance Dept?

The Manager wants to combine several depts and create a Finance Dept. Included in this new Dept of Finance would be the Assessors – Treasurer’s – Purchasing – MIS – Human Relations

It’s not clear if the title or position of Treasurer would be eliminated but why would you need it with he CFO and a new Asst. CFO position in place?

The Lynch Administration had thought about doing this but never followed it through. It would make sense especially the creation of the budget dept.

My only negative thought about it is it doesn’t go far enough. I wish the City would follow Brocktons’ lead and copy their Finance Office.

The Chief Financial Officer is responsible for the overall budgetary and financial administration of the City of Brockton, including the School Department. The budgeting functions of the School Department are under the control of the School Department, with guidance and oversight by the Chief Financial Officer.

The Finance Department is made up of: the Chief Financial Officer; Auditing and Accounting; Treasury and Collections, and Assessment departments.

With so much concern about the stability of the School budget doesn’t it make sense to keep a close eye on it?

28 – 30 5th graders per class due to POOR Management..

The inexperience and/or poor planning by this Supt. of Schools for the upcoming school year combined with the poor performance of the last school committee and this school committee in forcing the issue of a spike in 5th grade student population to be addressed by the administration(s) will result in 5th grade class sizes of 28 – 30 students per class.

Meanwhile at LHS the TOTAL population of students is 3,134 with 855 of those students across the street at the Freshman Academy.

There is more than enough room in the “main” buildings to move the Freshman back into LHS and to us the Freshman Academy as a full STEM school opening up the Rogers School for a pre-kndergarten building and opening classrooms citywide.

Instead the last and current school committee will be content with 30 students per class while the current administrations plan is to try to convince parents to send 25 – 50 students to be bussed to the Rogers for a STEM class that has no future in that building and would require their student to attend 3 separate schools in three years.

Why would any parent want to put their student through that and how many so called “professional” educators can site any examples that show it is beneficial to have students bounce around from school to school?