Deep cuts loom across state
Posted by Jeffrey Roy on April 6, 2008
The budget woes facing Franklin are similar to those being faced throughout Massachusetts. As reported in today’s Boston Globe:
Across Massachusetts, cities and towns face the prospect of deep cuts in what appears to be the grimmest fiscal year since 2003. Local revenue and state aid can’t keep up with such rapidly rising expenses as employee health insurance, heating oil, and even street paving. School costs, like special education requirements, are sapping local budgets. And now beleaguered residents are seeing home values dip even as taxes continue to rise.
To view the full story, click here.
The Franklin School Committee started its budget deliberations for the 2008-2009 school year in February 2008. At that time we noted that in order for the Franklin schools to offer the same services as we are providing to your children this year, the school budget must increase by approximately $4.1 million. The Town Administrator is currently proposing to increase school revenues by $800,000. If this proposed increase is approved by the Town Council, the Franklin schools would need to reduce their budget by approximately $3.3 million.
For the past several years in Franklin, the school budget has been pared down significantly, and we have seen a reduction of services combined with implementation of and increases to fees for busing, athletics, and student activities, to name a few. This year, we must make the budget reductions mostly in personnel, because we have exhausted all other areas for cuts. What this means is the loss of approximately 45 teaching positions – 16 at Franklin High, 12.5 at the middle school level, and 15 at the elementary level.
As the Globe article noted:
The last statewide budget crisis occurred five years ago, when Mitt Romney slashed local aid to address a deficit in one of his first official acts as governor. At that point, communities had had a decade to recover from the previous recession and reap the benefits of a booming late-1990s economy. But now the communities’ budgets haven’t caught up to where they were before the last crisis. State aid had increased somewhat in the last few years, but the 351 cities and towns combined this year still receive $566 million less from the state than they did in fiscal 2002, adjusting for inflation, said Geoffrey Beckwith, executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association.
What this means for Franklin is that we will continue to erode education spending. Last year, when speaking about the budget, we noted that Franklin was below the state average in 9 of 11 categories of education spending. The only areas where we outspent other Massachusetts communities were in classroom teachers and instructional materials. The new data has emerged, and this year Franklin has slipped further. With the continued education cuts, Franklin now spends over $2,000 less than the state average per pupil and is now below the state average in 10 of 11 categories. With the loss of 45 teachers, Franklin is sure to dip below on all 11 categories next year. The complete table of 11 categories is included below. You can view the data in more detail at the Massachusetts Department of Education website by clicking here.
|FY07 Preliminary Expenditures Per Pupil by Function, All Funds – Summary|
|In-District FTE Average Membership = 6,125.8|
|Out-of-District FTE Average Membership = 421.0|
|Total FTE Average Membership = 6,546.8|
|Classroom and Specialist Teachers||27,946,282||957,863||28,904,145||46.01||4,718.43||4,514.80|
|Other Teaching Services||2,568,393||650,011||3,218,404||5.12||525.39||817.20|
|Instructional Materials, Equipment and Technology||1,028,546||133,479||1,162,025||1.85||189.69||357.33|
|Guidance, Counseling and Testing||1,302,622||0||1,302,622||2.07||212.65||327.78|
|Operations and Maintenance||5,586,165||128,094||5,714,259||9.10||932.82||1,016.53|
|Insurance, Retirement Programs and Other||5,153,230||408,622||5,561,852||8.85||907.94||1,922.23|
|Payments To Out-Of-District Schools||6,290,828||650,135||6,940,963||11.05||16,486.85||19,419.49|
|percentage of overall spending from the general fund||89.7 %|
We want to ensure that all residents of Franklin are informed on the current status of the Fiscal Year 2009 budget and the potential impact of budget decisions on the services provided to the town’s public school students. Listed below are several links that will provide you with specific, online information regarding the budget. We hope you will use these sources to stay informed as budget discussions continue. As always, members of the School Committee are happy to answer any questions you may have.