There is some optimism that the House Ways and Means Committee will move more money to education and local aid. We already learned that a bit more than $400K is promised to Hudson over and above the Governor’s Budget by a joint House-Senate resolution. And, a little bit of more positive news, our entitlement grants are coming in a little higher than expected. However, we still have a serious deficit for FY15.
MA Associations, including Superintendents, School Committees, the Mass Municipal Association and others request the public’s help in securing more funding for local education in FY15.
Please contact Senator Eldridge, mailto:James.Eldridge@masenate.gov and Representative Hogan mailto:Kate.Hogan@mahouse.gov and voice your support for the legislative actions listed at the following link:
Senator Eldridge and Representative Hogan are strong supporters of education and local aid. Please tell them you are behind them by sending them an email and asking their support for these initiatives. You can cut and paste the line item document into your email if you choose.
Thank you for taking action!
Dear Members of the School Community and Residents of Hudson,
On Thursday, January 23rd, the Hudson School Committee voted to approve the budget that I recommended for the next school year. The budget summary sheet is posted on this page. It shows both the recommended budget, and a level services budget which is only adequate to continue current efforts next year. The recommended budget, now the School Committee’s Preliminary Budget, is 1% more than the level services budget. The Preliminary Budget is 3% more than the current year’s budget. A slide presentation on the approved budget, presented to the School Committee on January 23rd , is also posted on this page.
The bad news is that the Preliminary Budget has a 1.3M deficit and even the level services budget is 900K in deficit. The Governor’s Budget, just released, is not a strong education budget and increases in state aid will be minimal, unless the House goes beyond what the Governor has recommended for aid to education and unrestricted local aid.
The Town does not have projected resources to increase the appropriation for the schools. The picture is bleak, but we hope that the House appropriates more aid for education and towns. Please let Representative Hogan know your viewpoint on this (Rep.KateHogan@hou.state.ma.us). She is a strong education supporter, but it is always good for legislators to hear from many constituents. The MA Teachers Association, the MA Superintendents Association, the MA Municipal Association, and other pro-education organizations will do heavy lobbying this year.
It is not lightly that I deliver this message to all of you, but I want to be fully transparent and share the reality of this budget cycle. The reality may change to the better, or to the worse, depending on many factors that will change between now and June. I will share developments on this page.
We will be holding a Budget Forum next Tuesday evening, January 28th, in the Mini-Theater at the High School beginning at 6:30 p.m. Staff and community are invited to attend this informational meeting and I hope you will be able to attend. It will also be broadcast on HUD TV. We hope to hear your ideas on potential savings.
A Short History
The current deficit has two significant components that help explain the current problem. The first component is the significant increases in federal and state aid that occurred in FY08 through FY13. These increases included federal stimulus "ARRA" funds and sharp increases in Chapter 70 state aid. This history is a dramatic picture of the steep fall off in increased aid in FY14, the current school year. A budget crisis was averted in FY08 by a large increase in state funding, and the schools would have faced a situation very similar to today in FY10, had not federal stimulus monies flowed into Hudson. There would have been program reductions and personnel reductions over all of these years had it not been for the sharp increases in aid that ended with this current budget. Our current budget problem was "deferred" for at least the last 6 years as significant new aid came into Hudson.
The second component that helps to explain the current problem is our "cliff year" of FY14 with the opening of the new Quinn Middle School, The implementation of new, and needed, High School schedule, the transition costs related to moving kindergartens into the elementary schools and fifth grade classrooms to Quinn. Special Education costs were also up sharply in FY14. The impact of these changes on the FY14 budget totaled $1,417,816. These costs are detailed in the Budget Forum slides. Funding the FY14 budget required the spending out of the schools' School Choice revolving account in an unprecedented fashion to fund this year's budget. These diminished revolving funds will severely limit the District's ability to draw from savings in FY15 to offset the deficit.
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