Financial Impact on HWRSD.

Some of the major questions on people’s mind are

  • Where does funding for these mandates come from?
  • What’s the financial impact of the new mandates?
  • Are we threatened with loss of funding if we opt out of the mandates?

Where does funding for these mandates come from?

The answer is…the budget does not identify any separate funding from the state for implementation of Common Core, PARCC, iPad mandates.  I heard a rumor that the district got a $30K one time grant (unsubstantiated).   If someone has an actual number and evidence, it would be helpful.  In the meantime, let’s assume $30K.

How much does HWRSD get from the state?

To discover some of the key underlying numbers, look in the HWRSD FY15 Budget (pdf).  I pulled these number from page 12, and look at the table. Chapter 70 is the funding provided by the state, which is determined by formula.  For FY15, HWRSD receives $3.4M from the state of MA.

How much do the towns contribute?

The towns of Hamilton/Wenham contribute the difference between what the state provides, other sources and the total cost to run the schools.  In FY15, H/W contributes $24.5M.

Please note that the towns contribute 7.3 X more than the state of MA.  Don’t you think that would give the town some voice into decisions made within the school district?

How much do the oversight mandates cost?

There are at least two visible costs of mandates to the town.

  • Shift in salaries from teachers to overseers.
  • Additional annual lease costs for district owned iPads

Overseers salaries.

In Dr. Harvey’s plan, as published in the minutes of the 4/3 School Committee Meeting (pdf), in Exhibit D3, Section 4 there is a table identifying sources of funding for the new oversight positions,

Loss of existing teachers salaries?  $313,174 (Loss of teaching capacity)

Increase in overseer’s salaries? $360,000 (paying for overseers)

That is a net cost to the town for no value add.  We are losing teaching capacity, squeezing out our most valuable resources, the teachers.  This does NOT include the extra labor put on top of the teachers to put in evaluations….all of which takes away from teaching.

Summary of Org Change costs

The towns of Hamilton and Wenham pay a factor of 7.4 times the states contribution (which comes out of MA taxes anyway), and yet the state mandates the loss of $.36M annually in teaching capacity….replacing it with overhead to provide them with oversight reporting.

iPad Costs

Because of market competition, tablet devices are rapidly dropping in price and becoming a commodity for browsing information. From a cost perspective In a rapidly evolving marketplace, it does not make sense to hold a whole body of students, parents and teachers captive to a high cost leasing program, paid for through the district.

The specifics:  the 1:1 Program mandates $318 per year, per child, 2 year lease period.  All of these costs would be born by the parents (essentially another mandatory fee), and ownership remains with the district.  That amounts to $1272 in extra cost per family, per child during high school…and they don’t even get to keep it!

Should the family decide to purchase the exact same device, it would cost them $469.  Why is the district charging families 2.7 X the market price for a device?

What if the child learned more effectively with traditional notebooks, and wanted to study music or drama?  Perhaps the student wants to go deeper into software development and a laptop computer might be a better device.  What good is an iPad to them?

Not every family needs (or wants) to have their child have an iPad for “24 hour learning”.  Why is the school system forcing a mandatory lease for something that has questionable educational value?

Does any of this make any sense to anyone?

Economics Teacher: Bueller?… Bueller?… Bueller?

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