BAKER PLANS $105 MILLION INCREASE IN SCHOOL AID

John Nunnari regularly emails town officials news from the legislature, and this story by the State House News Service is a preview of a fairly rosy municipal and school aid proposal in the budget for next year –


 

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, MARCH 3, 2015….State aid for public schools would rise by 2.4 percent next fiscal year and unrestricted local aid would increase by 3.6 percent in Gov. Charlie Baker’s budget proposal, which is set to be fully released on Wednesday.

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said the increases fulfill the governor’s pledge during the campaign to boost state aid in concert with rising state revenues – state tax collections are due to rise 4.8 percent in the next fiscal year, which begins on July 1.

The Chapter 70 school aid account in Baker’s budget will feature a $105 million increase, which means a minimum increase of $20 per student, Polito told the News Service during an interview Tuesday prior to a meeting with mayors and other municipal officials.

Unrestricted local aid, which is predominantly generated by Lottery profits, would increase to $980 million in Baker’s budget plan, which will undergo review and redrafting in the Legislature in the coming months.

Specific information about levels recommended for other local aid accounts – regional school transportation, payments in lieu of taxes, and special education, for example – was not available.

“We felt the focus should be on Chapter 70 school aid and on the unrestricted aid, and let the school districts and the municipal managers determine how best to utilize those dollars,” said Polito, a former state representative and local official.

The extra state aid will help cities and towns cope with rising health care costs, school enrollment increases and snow management costs, Polito said.

“Level funding is a cut,” she said. “And we felt that it was necessary to increase the percentage for both school aid and unrestricted aid in order to help our communities perform the services to the quality they need to help our families and our hardworking taxpayers.”

Baker budget aides say his spending plan will also restore fiscal 2015 budget levels for the METCO program, which enables students from Boston and Springfield to attend schools outside those cities.

Baker and Gov. Deval Patrick cut METCO funding in recent months as part of efforts to address a deficit in this year’s state budget.

A Baker budget aide said the governor’s spending plan would include “a lot of level funding.” The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation has estimated a $1.5 billion gap between expected revenues and expenses next year.

Baker is tackling that budget gap without recommending any tax hikes and does not plan to draw money from the state’s stabilization fund, which lawmakers have regularly used to support spending plans.

The governor’s budget bill, which will be the subject of hearings starting next week, also won’t include any “one-time gimmicks,” Polito said. “It’s a straight-forward budget that reflects the priorities that we have, which are helping our cities and towns succeed,” she said.

END
03/03/2015
Serving the working press since 1910
http://www.statehousenews.com


 

How many people does it take to run Medfield?

Kristine Trierweiler has been putting financial figures together this week in response to queries about town budgets and finances, arising out of the upcoming public safety building special town meeting on March 23.  This data is a list of how many people it takes to run Medfield:

Total Personnel By Department

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -Full Time       Part Time
Town Administrator        9                      8 Includes Administrative Staff for all of   Town Hall
Town Accountant              1                      0
Treasurer                             1                      0
Assessors                              1                     0
Planning Board/ZBA         1                      0
Building Commissioner     1                      0
Park and Recreation           3                      0 Does Not include Summer Counselors or Lifeguards
Police                                   23                      0 Does not include Crossing Guards or Aux Police (MEMA)
Highway                              13                       0 Does not include 2‐3 Summer Laborers
Solid Waste                           2                      0
Fire Admin                            6                      0 Includes Chief and Call Deputy, Call Captain, Call LT
Fire Operations                    8                       0 FF/EMTS
Call Firefighters                   0                     20 On Call
Tree Warden                         0                        1
Sealer                                      0                        1
Animal Control                     1                         1 PT is for on call coverage
Youth Outreach                    2                         0
Wastewater Treatment       4                         0
Library                                    6                       17
Water and Sewer                  4                         0
Cemetery                                2                         0

Total                                      88                      48

School Department         368.8 Full Time Equivalents (FTE)

Town budget online

As part of the discussions about the proposed public safety building, some have asked to see the town budget.  A summary of the budget has always been online as part of the town’s annual reports, which are online, but today Kristine Trierweiler added a more detailed version of the budget online.

Public safety building

This email today from Mike Quinlan, co-chair of our Building Committee –


As some of you know, for the past few years, I have served as Co-Chair of the Medfield Permanent Building Committee.  Our committee oversees design and construction of all town facilities.  I wanted to reach out to you all to make sure you’re aware of some important upcoming town events as they will influence the future of Medfield and I believe it’s important that we all participate in shaping that.

In 2008 due to severely deteriorating facilities the town created a Capital Investment Plan that included four major building project organized by priority.  The first of which was the DPW Garage which was approved in 2013 and completed in the fall of last year.  The second major facility in need of replacement is the Police/Fire facility that we are now calling the Public Safety Building.  This month, the town will be holding a Special Town Meeting to decide whether or not to authorize the town to borrow funds to build a new Public Safety Building.  Subsequent to that, at the annual town election, there will be a ballot question requesting the approval of the town to borrow those funds.

The Permanent Building Committee has been working with architects and engineers for 2 years to design the facility and bids to build the facility are due this week.  This will give us an exact amount that the building will cost.  Currently, we are estimating the project to cost $20,350,000 of which the town has already allocated $1,350,000 at previous Town Meetings.  Thus we will likely be seeking $19,000,000 at this Town Meeting in 3 weeks.  This amount would add between $200-$500 to your annual tax bill depending on the value of your home.  This email seeks only to inform you of the details and not to advocate for either position.

There will be a Public Informational Forum held next Saturday to provide more detailed information about the proposed facility and there will also be tours of the existing facility so that people can see why the need exists.

Below is the schedule of important dates and I hope that you all are able to participate in some way.  You also should’ve received a mailer in your mailbox yesterday or today.

March 7th, 10AM, Dale Street School Auditorium – Public Information Forum

  • March 23rd, 7:30pm Medfield High School Gym – Special Town Meeting
  • March 30th, All Day, Medfield Council on Aging – Annual Town Election

Please forward to any neighbors, friends, spouses or other Medfield residents that may be interested.  Also, don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions…

Best regards…

Mike

Binit Shah – MFi Youth Volunteer of the Year

Binit Shah
YOUTH VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR 2015

Binit Shah

The Medfield Foundation proudly recognizes Binit Shah as its 2015 Youth Volunteer of the Year for his initiation of the Tech Club at the Medfield Memorial Library.

Other organizations where Binit volunteers:
• Medfield.TV
• MFi Youth Leader program
• Great Strides Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

For the past four years, Binit has volunteered at the library, first on its Teen Advisory Board to plan and implement programs for teens, and then a year ago Binit initiated the library’s Tech Club, where he teaches the basics of programming, in what has become one of the library’s most popular programs. Binit’s Tech Club inspires about fifteen students from 2nd – 8th grade with his effective, engaging teaching.

“I have been very impressed with the level of knowledge, patience, and maturity that Binit exhibits. He patiently maintains authority and control over fifteen adolescents, and yet provides differentiated instruction for different levels of learners,” said one parent. Binit handles internet failures and “glitches” with aplomb, smoothly switching to alternate teaching modalities. He also shows a high level of preparation before and after class, utilizing both his own YouTube videos and Kahn Academy, to provide recaps and to assign review material for at-home practice and class preparation.

Another parent, herself a teacher, said “Binit is a natural when it comes to teaching. He can really articulate the concepts and provides examples after presenting them. He is always well prepared and offers practice homework packets, videos, websites and other materials.” The materials that he provides in the club are well thought out, and often self created. He also adapts his class to the unique skill levels of each child and makes it easy for them to feel comfortable with and capable of programming. Binit’s teaching method is exciting and he manages a range of ages well.

Binit is a strong role model – friendly and casual, but at the same time mature, professional, and savvy. He models good character, helpful demeanor, and confidence. He also models for the Tech Club kids the use of his intelligence, to provide for their growth, while simultaneously helping them and inspiring them to improve their skills.

At Medfield.TV Binit does camera work, editing projects, field productions, and independent productions. He takes photos for the Great Strides Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.


 

Since 2008 the Medfield Foundation has celebrated volunteers suggested by their fellow Medfield residents with the MFi’s Volunteer Awards, and annually named:

  • a Youth Volunteer of the Year
  • a Volunteer of the Year, and
  • awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award.

This year all the volunteers will be feted at a reception at 3:00 PM on March 22 at The Center.

MSH remediation area

This is what the C&D area along the edge of the Charles River looks like this morning. In the middle is the new hill created in the hollow where the power plant used to stand, because that is where DCAMM piled all the contaminated material it dug out of the wetlands along the edge of the river, in the area that is in the left of the photo.

Skiing was great.[ end]

Best,Pete

Osler L. Peterson, Esq.
PETERSON | Law
580 Washington Street, Newton, MA 02458-1416
66 North Street, PO Box, 358, Medfield, MA 02052-0358
617.969.1500 W
617.969.1501 Direct
617.663.6008 F
508.359.9190 M
Osler.Peterson@OslerPeterson.com

Sent from my phone – please excuse any typos.

EPA award for WWTP

Bob McDonald and Bill Donovan of the Waste Water Treatment Plant at the selectmen meeting to report on their receipt of the EPA award for the quality of the improvements at the WWTP. The EPA commendation is on the table in the foreground. Medfield was the only recipient in Massachusetts.