MWDN: School committee to vote on estimated 5% budget increase for Algonquin

by beth on January 16, 2014

Post image for MWDN: School committee to vote on estimated 5% budget increase for Algonquin

Last week, Superintendent Dr. Charles Gobron informed Southborough’s K-8 School Committee that he will likely ask for a 3.5% budget increase. The Metrowest Daily News reports that Gobron is now forecasting a 5% increase in the Algonquin Regional High School budget.

Gobron proposed a $20.2 million fiscal 2015 budget, a $959,409 (4.99 percent) increase from the current $19.2 million figure.

Fixed costs – things like instructional materials, retirement costs and charter school enrollments – account for $217,000 of the increase, Gobron said, while special education costs are projected to rise $188,000.

Increased staffing expenses include: 2.9 teaching positions for gym and Advanced Placement, a new central office administrator, a technology instructor, and retaining the 3rd assistant principal hired during FY13.

Another $100,000 is for technology upgrades:

Gobron said he would “fall on his sword” for the technology increases because he doesn’t want the school losing ground to others.

District school budgets are still drafts as Gobron waits to hear from the state their assessment of what towns should pay.

“It may well be necessary to postpone some new initiatives, because it’s very important we’re cognizant of what the two towns can afford,” Gobron said.

Gobron made his presentation to the Northborough-Southborough Regional School Committee Wednesday night. It is scheduled to vote on the budget next month.

Click here to read MWDN’s full coverage.

(Photo by Susan Fitzgerald)

1 Just Curious January 16, 2014 at 10:16 PM

While I love Dr. Gobron and wish him well in his upcoming retirement, I would like to ask him how he thinks the towns can afford annual increases in school budgets of 5%. Where will it stop?

Please tell me why it is so critical to get additional gym teacher positions. As much as I enjoyed my high school sports, gym teachers would rank at the bottom of the list of what is really necessary. And for the folks who say that certain numbers/ratios of teachers are mandated by state regulations, well let us all admit that these legislative initiatives are pushed by the teachers union.

Best Wishes in your retirement Dr. Gobron. Thank you for your contributions to Southborough as a teacher and as an administrator.

2 Southville January 17, 2014 at 2:38 PM

For what it’s worth, it says “2.9 positions for gym and Advanced Placement”, so we don’t know how much of that is for gym.

And second, there are many studies out there that show that increasing gym and recess type are actually beneficial to academics, rather than detrimental. I think we focus too much on maximizing time sitting in a desk listening to lectures, when adding a few breaks here and there to be active have been shown to increase the usefulness of the time we do have.

So don’t knock gym teachers. :) Instead thank them for helping kids stay awake and healthy so they can better retain the skills and knowledge they learn the rest of the day.

3 Just Curious January 17, 2014 at 9:11 PM

Southville-

Thanks for pointing out the 2,9 additional teachers was a grouping of gym and AP. It would be good to know which is which.

But, in the grand scheme of things, another teacher to show the kids how to play kick ball? Really?

Also, since Athletic Director Whitten retired, he was replaced by another full time AD. Yet she came from a school where she was the AD AND a teacher and she only received a stipend for the role. Her last school and ARHS are about the same size, have the same # of sports, etc. So, why hire a full time person? Because we always do that. Sad.

4 Pat Q. January 18, 2014 at 11:26 AM

You really need to look deeper into what are high schoolers are doing in “gym”. Class. They are not “showing the kids how to play kick ball”. That is a ridiculous statement.

5 A parent January 17, 2014 at 8:58 AM

“And for the folks who say that certain numbers/ratios of teachers are mandated by state regulations, well let us all admit that these legislative initiatives are pushed by the teachers union.”

If it weren’t for the unions, I don’t know what state teachers and the schools would be in these days. The unions aren’t perfect, but I get so frustrated hearing folks complaining about them all the time, especially in a largely well to do town such as Southborough.

Physical fitness and teacher/student ratios are very important. We should be spending money where it is most important: On the schools. A town with a large percentage of millionaires can certainly afford it.

Thank you for your service, Dr. Gobron, and for your efforts in helping our local schools be some of the best in the state.

6 resident January 17, 2014 at 10:21 AM

The problem is that not all of us are millionaires and some of us are actually struggling. It is infuriating to me that people thing that just because I live in Southborough, I am “well to do”. I am barely making ends meet and some months not even. My gas and electric bill are behind yet because I am middle class there is no help for me so I continue to struggle. Please stop and think that not everyone is as fortunate as some are just because they live here. I for one am sick and tired of hearing how well off I am when the bank statement certainly doesn’t show it.

7 M January 17, 2014 at 10:42 AM

Thank you. I totally agree. It has been a struggle.

8 A parent January 17, 2014 at 10:48 AM

I am not a millionaire either. Far from it. We are renters. I have never assumed that everybody here was a millionaire, and nobody should. What I am saying is that Southborough as a whole can afford these changes.

9 resident January 17, 2014 at 11:33 AM

And I respectfully disagree.

10 Al Hamilton January 17, 2014 at 12:00 PM

We do not have a progressive tax system. The fact that we might be able to afford something in aggregate is irrelevant. Unless you can look a senior citizen in the eye and say we need 5% more of your Social Security Check you have failed to make the case for the increase.

The test has to be whether we are willing to force the least well off among us to give the town more money.

11 Southville January 17, 2014 at 2:44 PM

I applaud your general sentiment of looking out for the less fortunate – I wish more people would do so.

But I disagree with the general idea that every government expenditure should be looked at through the lens of “can the poorest among us afford to pay for this?” We don’t want to drive people into poverty, but by the guidelines you would have us go by, we could never allow taxes on anything, as there will always be senior citizens somewhere who can’t easily afford to pay taxes.

12 Al Hamilton January 18, 2014 at 8:39 AM

Southville

I did not frame the question in terms of affordability. I will take as a given that for a number of folks in town our taxes are not “affordable”. Indeed, for a large number of us, if given a choice, would find alternative uses for the funds that the Town forces us to pay.

I framed the question in more personal terms asking if you could look a person of limited means in the eye and say the benefit of this government function is sufficiently great that we must force you to give us some of your limited income. The reality is that we make the decision to take money from people of limited means every time we raise our hands at town meeting and approve a budget.

I am a fiscal conservative, not because I don’t want government to do good things but because the process of paying for those things causes real pain and suffering. The power to tax, which we all wield at Town Meeting and in the voting booth, is an awesome and terrible power. Taxes are payments that are not voluntarily given, they are forced by the government under threat of prison or confiscation of property. That is the underlying reality.

The reason for my using the rule (and I vote for taxes too) is that we need to take personal responsibility for our actions. When we vote for a budget we are also voting to inflict hardship on some people and to limit the free choice of nearly all.

13 Just Curious January 17, 2014 at 9:16 PM

Resident –

I’ll ask you to decide whether the taxpayers would be better served by hiring an ADDITIONAL gym teacher or using that money for “Meals and Wheels” or a nurse to check on the elderly shut ins in town. Or, should the gym teacher $ be used to pay for an extra police officer to work the midnight to 8 am shift in Southborough where we only have 2 officers working. Or, should the gym teacher $ be used……

You get the idea.

14 A parent January 17, 2014 at 12:25 PM

I agree that the people who can afford more should pay more.

We are very grateful to be able to live here. Even though we don’t make much–and do without a lot–we are happy to contribute through our taxes for the common good.

15 Al Hamilton January 17, 2014 at 1:11 PM

It is always easy to agree that somebody else should pay.

16 Rob January 17, 2014 at 2:13 PM

I have to agree with Al on this one. Maybe the school budgets should be pegged to economic growth in the town or state. Not just what seems to be a random number the committee comes up with that they think will work in the short term. Its a long shot I know, but just an idea.

17 A parent January 17, 2014 at 4:19 PM

If I had more money, I would be thrilled to pay more in taxes. And we as a family are extremely generous monetarily, especially considering what we earn.

18 Frank Crowell January 17, 2014 at 5:21 PM

I will refrain from going off topic any further and simply say I rest my case.

19 Frank Crowell January 17, 2014 at 2:17 PM

Well, it easy to see why you are a supporter of unions. The single most destructive force outside taxes is a union. Exhibit A is every town and city currently in bankruptcy. All of those towns’ leaders thought the taxpayer could pay more as well.

20 A parent January 17, 2014 at 3:04 PM

This statement makes no sense.

21 A parent January 17, 2014 at 2:17 PM

We pay our share, just like the rest of you.

22 Frank Crowell January 20, 2014 at 9:05 AM

I hope that Dan Kolenda can make as tough and principled stand on this budget as he did for the vote on the new SB police chief. It is very much needed here as well.

Previous post:

Next post: