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Jenny on Budget Meeting #5

Updated: May 15


We held a Committee of the Whole dedicated to budget planning for the 2020/2021 academic year on April 20th. In this meeting, we heard from the following departments:

  • Finance and Business

  • School Committee

  • Districtwide Expenses

  • Medford High School

  • Medford Vocational School

  • Andrews Middle School

  • McGlynn Middle School


Overview

Each department provided a narrative description of the critical activities, aggregated staffing, accomplishments, and essential initiatives for the upcoming year. If you missed my update on the plans for this year's budget and some general commentary, you could find it here. Generally, departments have been providing a narrative description of the department, which includes critical expenses and answers to the 'wish list' question. No narrative was provided for the administrative areas. Discussion of the School Committee budget was tabled until a narrative could be provided accordingly. We also tabled portions of the Finance/Business Department related to our technology infrastructure until a wish list could be provided. Our technology infrastructure is problematic. While we've done several updates this year, we are not at a point where our infrastructure supports our needs. I look forward to hearing more about what our needs or 'wishes' are to solve this ongoing problem. The finance department presented a net reduction to their proposed budget of $70,000 which is a substantial decrease. This decrease mainly occurs in our technology department. So before we take that as a reduction that is real, further discussion is required.


Department Reviews

In addition to the same funding requests from last year, the department heads highlighted the following items on their respective 'Wish Lists.'

Medford High School

  • Mr. D'Alleva requested additional Chromebooks. He didn't have the exact numbers but estimates that he has approximately 300.

Vocational School

  • Mr. Fallon highlighted that beginning next year, students from Belmont seeking a vocation education will be joining the CTE program at Medford High. This will generate tuition revenue for those students. There are other cities in discussion with Medford as well, which is an indication of the exceptional work happening at our Vocational School!

  • He asked for a scissor lift, a tractor loader, and ventilation upgrades.

  • Mr. Fallon also pointed out that based on enrollment, we will soon need 3-4 additional teachers to support growing programs and maintain compliance with CTE program requirements.

Andrews Middle School

  • An additional BCBA to provide behavioral support

  • A part-time math teacher to support students in the Therapeutic Learning Program and improve scheduling

  • Audio-Visual equipment

McGlynn Middle School

  • Stipends to add additional supervision before school and for the 7th-grade environmental field trip advisor

  • An additional teacher for the Language-Based Program. I've since received feedback from parents that the same need exists at the Andrews.

Districtwide/Finance/Administration

  • No wish list was presented.

  • During the discussion, Assistant Superintendent Patterson highlighted that her office was VERY thin and not able to handle all the requests without extraordinary hours and efforts by a very small staff. She didn't feel it would be prudent given our financial situation related to COVID-19 economic impacts to ask for an increase in staff. Still, she noted that an Accounting Specialist would be needed to alleviate demand.


Full Schedule of Budget Meetings

Beginning on February 24th, the School Committee started holding budget meetings with every department. The department heads will present a narrative of their department along with their budget requests for the upcoming year. I've also included the recording links in the full list below Here is the schedule:


Completed meetings

  • MONDAY, FEBRUARY 24TH, 2020 – Guidance, English Language Arts, Social Studies, Mathematics, Science, and World Languages The session was recorded and is available here. The budget presentations spilled over into our regularly scheduled School Committee meeting as well which is available here.

  • MONDAY, MARCH 9TH, 2020 – Elementary Schools. The session was recorded and is available here.

  • MONDAY, APRIL 6TH, 2020 – Art, Physical Education, Library/Media, Health Services, and Athletics. The session was recorded and is available here.

  • MONDAY, APRIL 20TH, 2020 – Middle Schools, High School, Vocational Technical Education, and Student Activities/Programs; School Committee, Finance/Business, Districtwide Expenses, and Districtwide The session was recorded and is available here.

Schedule of Upcoming Meetings

  • MONDAY, MAY 4TH, 2020 – English Learners and Special Education

  • MONDAY, MAY 18TH, 2020 – Transportation, Security and Building, Grounds and Custodial

  • MONDAY, JUNE 1ST, 2020 – Reserved if an additional meeting is needed

  • MONDAY, JUNE 15TH, 2020 – Budget Hearing Presentation at last School Committee Meeting of the school year.


Your call to action: Take the time to watch the 4/28/20 special School Committee meeting. Our city auditor provides the first input we've received on the impacts of COVID-19 on city budget planning here or read my update on this meeting. Please reach out if you'd like to meet. Please also share this blog with friends and neighbors who want to be informed about our schools. Subscribing to the newsletter will ensure you receive these updates as I post them.


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© 2019 by  Committee to Elect Jenny Graham