May 30, 2012 Budget Sub Meeting


Quincy School Committee
School Budget and Finance Subcommittee
Ms. Barbara Isola, Chair
2nd Floor Conference Room, NAGE Building
May 30, 2012, 4:30 p.m.  

  1. Presentation of Requested Options - Mr. Mullaney

  2. Discussion and Prioritization of Options - Subcommittee Members

  3. Vote on Acceptance of the FY2013 Quincy Public Schools Budget

  4. Other Business/Adjournment


Budget and Finance Subcommittee Meeting

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A meeting of the Budget and Finance Subcommittee was held on Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 4:30 pm in the 2 nd Floor Conference Room at the NAGE Building. Present were Mr. Paul Bregoli, Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Mayor Thomas Koch, Mrs. Emily Lebo, Mrs. Anne Mahoney, Mr. Dave McCarthy, and Ms. Barbara Isola, Chair. Also attending were Superintendent DeCristofaro, Ms. Beth Hallett, Mrs. Joanne Morrissey, Mr. Jim Mullaney, Mr. Kevin Mulvey, Mrs. Maura Papile, Mrs. Colleen Roberts, Mr. Keith Segalla, Ms. Judy Todd, Mrs. Witmer; Ms. Allison Cox, President, Quincy Education Association; Mrs. Tracey Christello, Citywide Parents’ Council representative; and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.

Ms. Isola called the meeting to order at 4:30 pm. Dr. DeCristofaro opened the meeting by reviewing that this is a level-service plus budget; we are at the reworking options stage of the budget process. In order to progress to the next stage of acting on the options, he asked members of the Superintendent’s Leadership Team to present on each of the seven budget areas.

Academic Classroom Teachers: Assistant Superintendent Roberts has met with all of the principals about class sizes. Areas of concern include the size of Grade 6 class entering Middle School and certain High School areas. The proposed 5 new FTE positions are slotted to be 2.5 Grade 6 teachers, 1.5 High School teachers (English and Social Studies for QHS), and 1 Elementary teacher for Squantum, Grade 3 regular education. In addition, there will be retirements and leave of absence positions to be filled to maintain the current staffing levels at all schools.

Academic Programs: Assistant Superintendent Roberts outlined the recommendations for 0.5 Art teacher at QHS, 1.0 Literacy Teacher (for a total of 17 system-wide, at least one at every elementary school; the new position may be shared by two schools), 2.0 Special Education teachers (1 additional autistic classroom at Snug Harbor; 1 for Lincoln-Hancock to meet student population needs). Math Interventionists and some teachers are still funded by the Title I grant. Ms. Hallett spoke about ELL services: the high school program is in transition, with the program expanding to be at both high schools. The proposed additional position will complete requirements for number of classroom hours mandated by the state. 5-7 students from Quincy High School are moving to North Quincy High School, which will have Grades 9-10 ELL this year; new students will be placed at their home schools. Each high school will have approximately 100 ELL students and Ms. Hallet noted that the ELL program is not organized by grade level, but by fluency level. Mr. Keith Segalla then presented on the Career, Vocational, and Technical Education enrollment and staffing at both high schools, including historical data. An additional Occupational Education position is proposed: health care technology (.5), plumbing (.3), and fashion technology (.2). Mrs. Lebo expressed concern about class sizes in particular areas, especially where we are currently exceeding state recommendations. Mr. McCarthy asked for clarification of recommendations vs. regulations; we are not in violation of any regulations. Both Mrs. Lebo and Mr. McCarthy expressed support for the program’s growth and retention. Ms. Isola asked whether seniors would be able to take any electives besides their regular and CVTE requirements? Eventually, might there be a shift to less elective teachers required? Mr. Segalla, Dr. DeCristofaro, and Mrs. Roberts agreed that this would depend on many factors and scheduling is very complicated, especially for seniors. Ms. Isola would like to follow this issue in the Teaching and Learning Subcommittee so that trends are followed to assist with budgeting process. Mrs. Lebo is concerned about programs that have very small populations and viability of staffing these.

Academic Support Dr. DeCristofaro spoke about the Attendance Department and the upcoming retirement, which will allow for an additional staff member to be hired, bringing the department to three members. These positions will be refocused on attendance, residency, and family support. Mrs. Papile spoke about the Guidance staff – proposed additional positions include .5 for LincolnHancock and .2 for Squantum. These will both address student population needs. Elementary Guidance counselors are the SPED chairs, and high caseloads impact their ability to work with the general population. For anti-bullying, there has been a lot of community support for the proactive culture change approach personified by Rachel’s Challenge. The Guidance staff is planning to implement the next phase of Rachel’s Challenge in the next school year. In partnership with the Special Education department, the Guidance staff is working on social skills training for populations at risk of being bullied. In terms of the proposed Curriculum Support positions, Dr. DeCristofaro spoke of the plan to create Pre-K through 5 (funded by the Title I grant) and 6-12 (encompassing Title III) positions. For Special Education aides, the proposal is an additional 10 positions, 2 for the new autistic classroom, the others for one on one situations. ELL Tutors/Translation services are used in schools where the population does not warrant a full-time ELL teacher. There is an increasing demand for services that has caused this budget to be over in FY2012. There are Office of Civil Rights requirements about accessibility to documents in native languages that must be covered. In addition, extracurricular funds for high schools would receive additional funding under this proposed budget.

Non-Academic Support Mr. Mullaney spoke of the proposal to add back Office Aides to schools with populations over 375 students. Other proposals in this area include increased funding for coaches for full schedule and overtime for bus drivers.

Subsidized Services Mr. Mullaney briefly reviewed this area and the proposals to increase Elementary and Middle School lunches by $0.10 each to meet with federal regulations to be equal to reimbursement rate. There are no proposed increases in rates or user fees for Athletics, Transportation, or Building Rentals. As a point of information, Mr. McCarthy asked about voting on Subsidized Services separately. Mr. McCarthy then made a motion to accept the Superintendent’s Leadership Team recommendations for Subsidized Services. Mayor Koch seconded the motion and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it, 7-0.

Academic Expenses Mrs. Roberts reviewed that there were no changes requested to these line items. She suggested that funding changes for Title I and Title IIA will impact set-asides; these will be 20% going forward and can be used for all schools system-wide for professional development because QPS is a Level 3 district. For textbook purchases, available funding from FY2012 allowed for purchases to take the pressure off FY2013 budget, especially in the area of Mathematics for Elementary and Middle Schools and informational texts, plus the piloting of Journeys at three schools (LincolnHancock, Squantum, Wollaston). The district is moving more slowly in terms of High School mathematics. In FY2014, the textbook budget will need to potentially absorb buying new Reading for other eight elementary schools, plus middle school and high school purchases. ELL and Music curriculum purchases traditionally are from this account and Student Support Services needs for materials will be included as well.

Non-Academic Expenses Mr. Mullaney reviewed the proposed shifts in natural gas, electricity, gasoline, medical and athletic services, and an increase in the travel rate to reflect Massachusetts travel reimbursement rate.

Cumulatively, the proposed budget has an increase 30.7 positions (includes 23.7 positions that had been funded by grants in previous years and 7.0 new positions). Mr. Mullaney summarized by stating that the budget impact of changes breaks out to 43% for Academic Classroom Teachers, 25% for Academic Programs, 17% for Academic Support, and 15 % for Non-Academic Support.

Options to Balance the 2012-13 QPS Budget Mr. Mullaney then presented four options that the Superintendent’s Leadership Team discussed based on requests from the School Committee at the May 24, 2012 Budget and Finance Subcommittee meeting.

  • Option 1: Fund trainers ($30,250), but not full athletic schedule (-$35,000). This would allow $10,000 to support anti-bullying initiatives and an additional .5 Classroom teacher ($25,000).

  • Option 2: Fund full athletic schedule ($35,000), but not trainers (-$30,250). This would allow for an additional SPED aide ($16,250), additional funds for extracurricular activities for both high schools ($4,000), and $10,000 to support anti-bullying initiatives.

  • Option 3: No trainer (-$30,250), no full athletic schedule (-$35,000). This would allow for an additional 1.0 Classroom teacher ($52,000), additional funds for extracurricular activities for both high schools ($3,250), and $10,000 to support anti-bullying initiatives.

In addition, the SLT is proposing a fourth option:

  • Option 4: Fund trainers ($30,250), 1.0 classroom teacher ($52,000); no full athletic schedule or funds for anti-bullying (use grant funding and professional development funds), move money from bus driver OT (-$8,500) and student furniture lines (-$8,500).

In the subsequent discussion, Mr. McCarthy asked for clarification on specifics of the different options and where the additional teacher would be utilized. Mrs. Roberts said the teacher would be added to the staff of one of the high schools. Mr. McCarthy stated he agreed with Option 4, because although he agrees with the need for the full athletic schedule, he can’t support that over an additional teaching position. Booster clubs paying for additional games is not a sustainable model in the long run. Mr. Bregoli agrees that an additional classroom teacher is the priority and also agrees with Option 4, as it addresses direct services to children.

Mrs. Lebo made a motion to accept Option 4 as proposed by the Superintendent’s Leadership Team. Mr. Bregoli seconded the motion and on a roll call vote, the ayes have it 6-1. Mrs. Mahoney voted NO.

Mayor Koch made a motion to accept the Quincy Public Schools FY2013 budget. As a point of information, Mr. McCarthy asked if we need to vote on the Maintenance department merger so that funds can be transferred to the Public Buildings department budget. Mayor Koch replied that the vote should take place at the School Committee Meeting on June 13, 2012.

Mr. McCarthy also asked about Community Service. Dr. DeCristofaro replied that Mr. Bregoli will present an update at the School Committee meeting on June 13, 2012, but there will be further discussion in September. Mr. McCarthy said that he will supply a draft of a motion in advance of the School Committee meeting on June 13, 2012, as well as budget information for Maintenance department transfer and line items affected.

Mrs. Hubley inquired about the Field Help line in budget. Mr. Mullaney explained that covers gate staff (football, basketball, hockey games), site supervisors, announcers, scorers, timekeepers, some of which are positions mandated by MIAA.

Mr. McCarthy seconded the Mayor’s motion. Mrs. Mahoney questioned that the vote being taken today to move out of Subcommittee prior to the Public Hearing gives the appearance that the Public Hearing has no value. Mayor Koch acknowledged her point and suggested that the vote is that the School Committee agrees with the draft of the budget being presented for public comment.

Mrs. Mahoney suggested a friendly amendment that the motion be amended to state that the School Committee’s vote is a recommendation is to move the budget from subcommittee to the public hearing. Mr. McCarthy suggested that the introduction at the Public Hearing should welcome the public’s comments, which will be considered before the final budget is voted on.

Mr. McCarthy seconded the motion as amended. On a roll call vote, the ayes have it 7-0.

Mayor Koch requested the Maintenance department consolidation vote be added to the Agenda for the School Committee Meeting on June 13, 2012.

Ms. Isola announced the Public Hearing for the FY2013 budget will be held on Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at 6:00 pm. The Budget and Finance Subcommittee meeting scheduled for May 31, 2012 is cancelled. The Quincy Public Schools Budget Presentation to City Council is on Monday, June 11, 2012.

Mrs. Lebo said she appreciated that this was a pleasant budget process and thanked the Mayor, Superintendent, and Superintendent’s Leadership Team for their work.

Mr. McCarthy made motion to adjourn the Budget and Finance Subcommittee Meeting at 6:00 pm. Mrs. Mahoney seconded the motion and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.