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Budget Update - January 27, 2017

posted Jan 27, 2017, 5:00 AM by GMHSLibrary
Dear Colleagues:

Like clockwork every year at this time, the budgetary process is unveiled and low and behold, collectively we come to the sad realization that as a district, we are once again struggling financially, when it comes to our school budget.  Some of the budget issues that have been brought forth to me by both membership and administration are the possibility of cutting a 3rd grade position, the loss of Kindergarten aides and the outsourcing of the entire food department.  Some members have wondered where the union stands on these issues and the answer is always the same, with membership.  Some have wondered where the Superintendent and School Committee stand and the answer once again is with membership.  As previously mentioned, every year Superintendent Jacobs and the School Committee stand unified with their staff, so where does the problem lie?  The answer is simple; the problem lies with the town.  In the Superintendent’s, Recommended Budget for Fiscal Year 2018, she states:

“I know we have to be mindful of the financial challenges that the town is facing with unpredictable state aid, rising fix costs, and the need to rely heavily of property taxes to fund budgets but nevertheless, I maintain that the issue is not a spending issue but rather a revenue issue for the town.”

Until the town decides to shift its collective philosophy about allowing industrial growth to occur within the borders of Georgetown, we will continue to struggle with this issue.  Furthermore, until the state properly funds the FBRS-Foundation Budget Report Commission, which estimates that education in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is underfunded by one billion dollars annually, we will continue to struggle.   The formula to discover how much state aid each district receives annually has not been updated for 22 years, meanwhile costs continue to rise, including health care.  On top of all this, the Commonwealth has delayed the opening of statewide marijuana outlets by six months, one of which is slated to open here in Georgetown.  This dispensary is expected to bring in one million dollars annually to Georgetown.  Also, until the town votes in Selectmen and women that are forward thinkers and move into the 21st century, we will continue to struggle.

Currently, the School Committee is seeking a 3.5 % increase for fiscal year 2018, which is basically level funding.  The Selectmen have proposed a 2.4 % increase, which would put the district further behind and cuts would have to be made.

Vice President Mike Murphy and I continue to meet with Superintendent Jacobs, the school committee and Selectman Joe Bonavita to discuss and make our position known.  As you know, we spoke at a Finance Committee meeting last year to express our concern.  You will recall a very eloquent letter I sent to the Finance Committee last year to express our position.  

Members do not have to go to school committee meeting to express their outrage; the committee shares your outrage.  Members need to direct their energy towards writing emails and calling their state representatives and demand that the FBRC be properly funded.  Historically, according to MTA stats, only three percent of the GEA will pursue this matter any further.  On the local front, Mike and I will continue to talk to all parties that continue to push us further down this road and be assured that we have your backs.  We will continue to fight for membership and continue to push for the district to properly fund education in Georgetown.

Over the next couple of months, we will be updating membership about where we are in the budget process and what possible steps you can take to help.