Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Budget and our schools

Last night the Framingham School Committee heard from two parents and supporters suggesting the School Committee fight for no more cuts in 2012's budget. It's still early and we don't know what the State will kick in this year, but it's painfully clear, no stimulus money and the prospects for new revenue looks bleak.

One thing is very clear, after a parent who just moved here said, there's not enough information and outreach being done to inform parents of next years potential cuts. She did say, the one reason her family moved here, was the schools.

We did hear that the deficit as of now could be 7 million total for the Town. And while not all of that will come out of the school's budget, the estimated 4 million will come from the school budget and as we all can surmise, drastic cuts will happen in our schools. Everything will be on the table and we did learn school choice will be looked at to see if money can be saved.

There's a budget summit meeting on the 14th at the Town Hall in which we will hear from all departments heads, ways and means, fincom, etc. It will be televised live and suggest anyone who cares enough to tune in.

Herb Chasen is leading a group of concerned citizens and can be reached at info@framinghamsaveourschools.org

15 Comments:

At December 9, 2010 at 12:11 PM , Blogger JJ said...

Jim, what percentage of the town budget is the school budget? Cut each department by the percentage of the overall budget it is. So if the school department is 20% of the towns overall budget, then 20% of the 7 mill deficiet has to come out of the shools. Sounds fair to me.

 
At December 9, 2010 at 12:19 PM , Blogger Angry in Framingham said...

Cutting the school budget is not going to kill anyone. I got more important issues to worry about, like keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table. Come on people, wake up. No more raises, even if we negotiated them, and no more free ride on health care. I don’t really care if you think you are entitled, you are not.

 
At December 9, 2010 at 12:32 PM , Blogger Framingham resident said...

Saying Save our Schools is a bit of a stretch. The schools are going to survive, how about Save our town, or our town’s people? I think the idiots saying schools have to be saved from budget cuts are nutcases. Where the hell do you think the town is going to cut 7 mill from the budget if it can not touch the schools? Are you suggesting taxes go up? Well how about the people who are struggling to hold on to their homes now. Who is going to form a group to protect them? This group is clueless about how tough to things really are in the entire country. To expect no cuts is unreasonable in todays world.

 
At December 9, 2010 at 1:28 PM , Blogger Just wondering said...

How many families in Framingham have kids in the schools? How many people showed up at that meeting? I am betting less than 20% of the families showed up. No why? Because they don’t give a dam, they have more important things to worry about. The only ones bitching about cutting the budget are the school committee members and the superintendent, and the teachers who are afraid of losing their cushy jobs with high pay. Those of us living in the real world of corporate American know that cuts are a necessity, even if it impacts our kids. Time for the teachers in this town to join the rest of us who are struggling. They are not immune, or at least they should not be.

 
At December 9, 2010 at 2:22 PM , Blogger Jamie said...

Your thoughts on this Jim? Is it fair to say the school budget is exempt from cuts, when every single other town department will have to weather even deeper cuts if we hold that line?

 
At December 9, 2010 at 2:36 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cutting budgets does not mean cutting programs. How about cutting teacher salaries? Why isn’t any one talking about that? My salary has been cut in the private sector, and although I did not like it, I recognized it was necessary in these economic times. If our teachers are so stupid they are not aware of the crisis this country is in, then they are not smart enough to be teaching our kids, and we are definitely paying them too much.

 
At December 9, 2010 at 3:07 PM , Blogger Not my problem said...

Our future is our kids. We have to fund the schools or we are bankrupting our future. All those foreclosed properties in Framingham won’t find buyers if our schools are falling down on the job. We have no choice. But funding the school budget fairly does not mean no cuts. I don’t think we can honestly expect that our schools operate under a different funding mechanism than the rest of the town departments. That sounds like an unreasonable expectation to me.

 
At December 9, 2010 at 3:47 PM , Blogger Abra said...

If taxes go up in this town, I won’t be able to stay in my house. If home heating oil prices go up, I won’t be able to keep my house warm this winter. If the cost of gas goes up I won’t be able to afford to drive to my low paying job. If the cost of food goes up, I won’t be able to feed my family. I think I will start a save my family group so that all you people will make sure none of these things get any more expensive for me and my family. If it works for the school department why shouldn’t it work for John Q. Public.

 
At December 9, 2010 at 4:33 PM , Blogger Angry Voter said...

Obviously we can not cut 7 mil from the school department budget, but it has to be cut from somewhere. I can not help thinking that taking it in smaller chunks from all town budgets is a lot fairer than taking it from only some town budgets. What makes the school department more special that they don’t have to cut if everyone else does? Why are they more important then police or fire or DPW? We can’t get caught up in playing favorites in this town. We have to be fair, and that means every single budget is going to have to find ways to cut their expenses for next year. Either they choose where to cut, or town meeting wields the ax and with less knowledge they decide where to cut.

 
At December 9, 2010 at 4:39 PM , Blogger Tim W. said...

We are not the only town facing these issues. No one wants to cut the school budget, but unless we can come up with cuts somewhere else, we have no choice. Herb Chasen has good intentions, but if someone forms a committee to save the police budget, and the fire budget, and the DPW budget, then we have no where to cut. Everyone thinks there budget is the most important. In this economy no budget should be excluded from the cuts. And in case you are wondering, yes, I do have kids in the Framingham schools, 3 of them.

 
At December 9, 2010 at 5:14 PM , Blogger new to blogging said...

How much worse can things get? We have a 7 million deficit and we have kids going to bed hungry because their parents have lost their jobs and run out of unemployment. It is awful tough for me to worry about the schools budget when I can’t feed my kids.

 
At December 9, 2010 at 5:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

How much worse can it get? Just wait a few months and you will find out. We are no where near out of this mess yet and I suspect it will get much worse here in Framingham before it gets better unless we vote out the selectmen and we all know that wont likely happen

 
At December 10, 2010 at 11:25 AM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

As I see it and the Globe has reported lately, the one budget buster in the State, including Framingham is the fact that we cannot get organized labor to adopt the less expensive health care programs.

I'm not sure if anything can be done about this, but if it came down to closing schools just so the unions could have better health care programs than everyone else, then I say, either cut the salaries of everyone involved enough to of set the costs of health care or file for chapter 11 protection.

Deval and the Legislature have so far refused to support mandating less costly health care programs, only because of the union support in the elections. And our own party loyalists at the BOS have shown little backbone.

We have no one to blame but ourselves. We elect the same party loyalists each and every year who cater to the unions. And next week we will see what the BOS, FinCom and the CFO have come up with, but it's painfully clear, our Town and especially our schools will look different next year if we don't do something.

My original proposal was to take 2 million in overtime from Police and Fire, mandate 75/25 health care costs, eliminate school choice, ESL programs for school age children, stop shipping SPED students out of district and not one dime in raises for any town employee.

The only thing Framingham has going for it now is our schools. And if we short change them, this Town will suffer. 80% of the school budget is salaries and any further cuts will be to personal which will mean school closings.



Are we prepared for that?

 
At December 10, 2010 at 2:53 PM , Blogger 6th Middlesex constituent said...

Nice recap Jim. I especially like the idea of saying we cut the salaries of the town employees to make up for the payments we are making over the norm for their health care benefits. If we can not negotiate the cost of health care, then lets negotiate what we can, which is salary. Tell them here is the pot, we have this much money to pay teachers. If X covers health care costs, then the balance covers salary and that may mean cuts in pay. If we lower the cost of X (health care) then we can give that money back to you in salary.

 
At December 10, 2010 at 5:33 PM , Blogger Alpha Dog said...

I was wondering about something. I bet many town employees have a spouse who could pick up the cost of their health care, but their spouse does not have a plan that is covered by the employer as much as our town employees are, so they opt to take our plan. If it were a level playing field, some of these people might take their insurance from their spouses employer and that in and of itself could save the town a lot of money. But as long as we have the sweet deal on the table we offer now, no one is going to opt to pay for it somewhere else. Any idea of what percentage of town employees take their health care coverage through the town? I am willing to bet it is very high. Then how many town employees have a spouse who has the option for taking the health care coverage for the family from their employer? And how much would the town save if those people took their insurance from someone else? I would be interested in what that dollar value would be.

 

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