Did the Aldermen sanction to put an Override to voters?
It will be predictable that the morally bankrupt Aldermen who take UNEARNED taxpayer monies will have to approve an Override. They owe Dolan for manipulating a legal loophole to pay their family health insurance in exchange for approving his 26% raise. Tramontozzi performed as commanded on the Alcohol Advisory Group. He might have regrets when the "legally drunk" patrons of the new wine bar going in blocks from his house cause accidents on Franklin Street. Melrose politics are a farce.
Speaking of politically farcical Melrose politics. Why is the MCAS Results meeting scheduled at 5:30?
Folks are still commuting home and/or trying to get dinner together. Is the poor scheduling/timing a deliberate attempt to silence people? One wonders?
And you wonder why people feel cynical and why I'll keep repeating VOTING NO ON THE OVERRIDE !!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'll be voting Yes on the override. Melrose schools have done very well by my family.
I would definitely vote yes. It would be an interesting vote. This board definitely doesn't reflect the opinion of most Melrosians - think of the last school committee election with GM in last place or the Mayor's popularity in elections versus the general opinion of him on this message board. I actually haven't heard of anyone in our government saying they were going to put an override on the ballot (although the annoying poster on this board feels the need to vote against it on every single thread - very pointless). But it would be great to have a vote just so that we can tell once or for all what the rest of Melrose thinks on this issue (and again, the opinion on this board doesn't count because it is actually very wrong most of the time).
Has anyone asked CKK if she supports an override? She's the chair of the finance committee now, correct? I know the MM posters have close ties to her and I'd be interested on her opinion, as I do respect her opinions a lot
I know Ms. CKK personally and she believes it is not a matter of money but of leadership and management. This should not be surprising given her knowledge of the issues, the people involved in the administration, and an understanding of education principals and philosophy. Perhaps you may want to take some guidance from her on this matter of any potential override discussion.
I will vote yes too. And I would keep voting yes to every override until our per pupil spending is on par with other communities--then we will be able to tell whether or not it is a matter of leadership or spending. Last time I checked, Melrose was ranked 296th out of 322 communities in pps (see Boston Globe article from January 2014, http://www.boston.com/yourtown/specials/snapshot/massachusetts_snapshot_pupil_costs_2011_2012/). And I do understand that we have increased the funding to the schools in the last few years, but we had such a long way to go that we are probably still ranked in the bottom third of school system PPS, and I would be more than happy to pay more in taxes to give the school system better resources to work with.
So what, exactly, would an override pay for? If your pitch is that you need an override to increase the salaries of all the "wonderful" educators in this district, you override supporters will be laughed out of town. In the history of the state, there has never been a district that passed an override for the sole purpose of increasing the salaries of municipal employees, and it certainly won't happen in a district like this where so many of these employees are substandard. No one in their right mind would get involved in something like that.
So what will the override pay for? Additional administrators? More teachers? Take a look at some of the disastrous recent hires, and ask yourself, do I want to give more money to the same people who hired teacher X, who can't even manage to present coherently at Open House? Or do you want to give more money to the administrators that are responsible for teacher Y who calls in sick all the time and shows up late, or teacher Z who refuses to use Aspen, or teacher B who doesn't seem to be following any curriculum and is giving out A's for just showing up?
Specifically, what will this override money be used for?
These override supporters are as silly as the school committee that voted for a teacher's contract they hadn't even seen. I hope they get this dog onto the ballot and get the reality shock they obviously need when they find out that they are laughing stocks by the general population, which may be relatively silent but is nowhere near as willing to buy the propaganda as they are.
My apologies for not responding right away - seemingly unlike the serial posters on this site, I actually have a job so I can't respond within 2 seconds to any thread.
As I said before, the number 1 reason I would vote for an override to have the per pupil spending in Melrose on par with other communities. I am not saying we need to be in the top 10 school districts in pps, but the top 150 would be nice. Show me the data where we are in this range with the recent budget increases, I don't think we are even near that range.
I think the override should continue to go to higher teacher salaries. I know, you all discuss the "massive" salary increase in this year's teacher contract. However, looking at where the teachers were starting from--Melrose ranked 318th out of 328 communities in teacher pay? We would need a massive 22% pay increase across the board just to get us back to the median state salary. Better pay would attract and retain better teachers under any administration. So show me the data that our teachers are getting paid as much as their peers in other communities.
Here is the Patch article from May of this year to which I refer.
The highest and lowest average teacher salaries in Massachusetts:
1. Concord-Carlisle, $95,947
2. Lincoln-Sudbury, 94,087
3. Sherborn, $91,848
4. Worcester, $91,504
5. Dover-Sherborn, $89,600
318. Melrose, $53,569
326. New Salem-Wendell, $50,899
327. Petersham, $50,462
328. Florida, $35,497
Other things I would like to see an override used for? I would like to hire more teachers to reduce the class sizes. I would like to be able to fund text books in the general fund rather than having to bond them. I would like to fund a full upgrade of our technology systems in all schools rather than asking the PTO to fund computers. I would like to upgrade the facilities in the high school and upgrade the aging elementary schools. I would like to reduce the school athletic fees. There is a laundry list of things I would be more than happy to fund via an override.
Bust mostly, I would like our pps spending, and our teacher salaries, on par with other communities. I would like our school system to have appropriate resources just like other communities. That is why I would support an override.
Did someone say "wine bar"?
"We would need a massive 22% pay increase across the board just to get us back to the median state salary."
Oh, okay - so with the 26% they just got they are now 4% above the median. Therefore, not one more red cent until they show some quantifiable results.
Hype this - it's a 3 year contract with salary, steps, and incentives. Not all in one year. Totals almost 26% over time for almost all.
What a joke! You've got me laughing so hard my sides hurt. If you're going to spin something, at least make an effort to make it believable. Salary budgets don't give you contractual pay rates, dummy! But of course you already knew that, didn't you? Override my a$$!
And how do you expect to pay for a pay raise if it isn't in the budget?
And why don't you show me the math on how all teachers are going to make 26% more in 3 years if you are so much smarter? I am very interested on how you derived this number that gets thrown around this board so often.
Please stop. I'm about to wet my pants! According to you Lincoln and Winthrop teachers must have gotten pay cuts!
Look up the post from MFD where he did provide the math. I'm not your researcher.
So I looked at my numbers again and saw that the numbers above were comparing the 2013 to the 2014 budget. So here are the new budget numbers, comparing the 2014 budget to the 2015 budget (that incorporates the new teacher's contract).
School: 2014 budget/2015 budget
Horace Mann: $653,341/$683,012
Roosevelt: $1,085,426/ $1,129,407
MVMMS: $2,921,160/ $3,126,279
HS: $3,365,058 $3,387,043
Total $10,721,484 $11,184,096 4%
I am drawing the numbers from the budget here: http://1i8brn1xoauz1pwsvo1ktb7vb1q.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/FY15-DRAFT-Budget-v2.pdf
So it looks like a 4% increase was budgeted for this year. This is a total of $462,612.
This is better then the previous year (a 2% increase), but still not close to the 8.6% needed annually for the 26% number that has been thrown around. I do believe that MFD backtracked at one point when he was asked to prove the 26% increase, but I am certainly not looking through a million threads to find it. So I am hoping that he will show us the math on the 26% again, because the FY 15 school budget is not that figure right now.
So Melrose has one of the lowest PPS averages. Why is that when we already pay higher taxes than a lot of communities? Obviously, the money is not being spent/managed correctly. Those of you in favor of an override really think it's going to fix things?
As far as MCAS, maybe they scheduled it early so no one would know that as a result of the scores, Melrose is now a level 3 school system, which is not a good thing.
It's actually 4.245%, but who's counting, right? For the last time (hopefully) - you cannot calculate a contractual increase simply by looking at a salary line item in a budget. That line includes no bennies, doesn't indicate future rates or steps, and doesn't specify staffing. Suppose they didn't fund five positions at, say, $55000? That raises your percentage to 6.437%, or 19.31% over three years. Your conclusions are nonsense.
Do you recall offhand what the Mayor said over and over again what the increase was? He said 1%. He also said the contract was almost exactly the same as the prior one. Override my a$$.
Folks...go back to the records and documents from last year when you have time and you will see that the Mayor found 2 million dollars from the city side of the budget to give the schools for the increase in salary steps for teachers over the 3 years which amounted to 23 to 26% salary increases over 3 years for a majority of teachers. They got their big salary increase as well as their 1% COLA. Comparing the new salary steps for each teacher to the old ones will give you the accurate comparison and the true numbers which don't lie. But I do know that some of you are just too lazy to do this.
Also looking at per pupil expenditures will not give you the full picture of a communities commitment to their schools since a community like Westford spends similar PPL expenditures as Melrose yet their student outcomes are superior to ours and why? You figure it out because our school committee has not yet figured it out!
"Also looking at per pupil expenditures will not give you the full picture of a communities commitment to their schools since a community like Westford spends similar PPL expenditures as Melrose yet their student outcomes are superior to ours and why? You figure it out because our school committee has not yet figured it out!"
The figures from Westford vs Melrose were 2012 comparisons. After the full implementation (with all the perks) of the new teacher's contract and figuring in the $40,000 just gifted to the superintendent for her non-union administrators plus her sizable raise ($5,000 plus % perks), Melrose will be well beyond what a town like Westford in per pupil spending. Westford far outperformed Melrose to start with. Now it's much worse. And Westford doesn't have a Level 3 School!
The mayor said it was a %5 million raise for the teachers.
The PPS calculation is a very simple one, the state simply divides the overall school budget by the number of students. It does not consider the many variables that effect that number. One particularly relevant to Melrose is teacher experience. Given the teacher/administrator turnover in Melrose it is likely the case that our teacher age/experience is younger/less than our neighbors. This will artificially deflate the PPS number since teacher salaries are the biggest driver of the school budget. It doesn't mean we do not have fair salaries just that many teachers are at the bottom of the pay scale based on their experience.
Winchester's PPS is about $800 more than Melrose. I would gladly vote for an override to bridge that gap if anyone could promise that it would raise the quality of the Melrose schools to those in Winchester. I doubt that is the case.
override should only be used for capital expenditure and physical plant such as renovations at older elementary schools and continuing renovations at MHS. Although I have kids in the system I would not vote for an override for salaries, only for buildings and equipment.
Westford has one of the largest percentages enrolled in the public HS at 97% (3% at private or parochial). Melrose HS enrollment is only 87%, Keep in mind MVCS is considered "public". If you factor out MVCS students from Melrose, enrollment at Melrose HS (vs. private/parochial/charter) is closer to 80%.
When 20% of students leave the district the performance is going to drop. You could also argue for the most part that these are "top" students - students with engaged families and/or the higher income.
So why do these 20% leave? Because the budget is not used correctly. The academics and the teachers at the HS level are not good enough. It becomes a negative cycle.
Start by not accepting "pretty good". Invest money wisely by hiring a firm like McKinsey to analyze the school budget. Clean house. Begin again.