Every tax is a pay cut.  Every tax cut is a pay raise.
Citizens for Limited Taxation

Special ed surplus questioned Wednesday, July 16, 2003
Barry Kling Metrowest Daily News
The recent decision by the Framingham School Committee to prepay, using a portion of its FY03 surplus, special education tuition for out-of-district placements may be legal, but it does raise some interesting questions.

Perhaps the most important question to be asked is, why was the surplus so large?  Some surplus might be expected, given the number of children moving in and out of the system, and the ever-changing needs of students and staff, but a surplus of close to $1 million seems to speak volumes about the fiscal management practices of the administration.

We also need to ask how long the administration was aware of the surplus and whether this information was shared with members of the School Committee, especially during the long budget process.  How would the FY04 budget differ had this surplus been factored in as available FY04 revenue?  If the entire surplus was returned to the town, the schools would have received close to $600,000 in additional revenue (under the 60/40 sharing arrangement used by the town to allocate revenue).  Would the School Committee have made different choices?  Might Juniper Hill have remained open?  The Juniper Hill parents deserve an answer to this question, as do those students who no longer receive Reading Recovery and SAGE services.

During the budget process, we constantly read about the millions being drained from the Framingham Public Schools and the impact this would have on the schools.  In reality, the system should not have had to suffer as greatly.

At Town Meeting, actual spending totals from previous years are included in the budget backup for all town departments, except the School Department.  It is time to demand better accountability from the School Committee and Superintendent.  It is time that the citizens of Framingham understand exactly what their money is being spent on.  Framingham cannot afford otherwise.

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