Sunday, April 06, 2008

Dangerous precedent, if true

I think several points raised the Milford Daily News article today deserve some elaboration.

'The School Committee... seems to be accepting grants, so I don't know why they couldn't accept a grant from the Brick School (Association),'' said Hunter.
They will if the grant is for supplementing not supplanting what the school budget provides.

"They've said they won't accept donations to pay for a teacher, but last week, they accepted $2,000 for a teacher to use in her classroom through a `Teacher of the Year' award,'' Sandham said.
I guess you don't understand the difference between supplement and supplant. The money is an award for the teach to use in her classroom, it does not pay the teacher's salary.

"We're hoping there will be some way we can work with them,'' she said. The committee's policy should not prevent funding via grants, Sandham added.
There is a way. Make the grant non-specific and they'll accept it based upon the policy revision to use it to supplement and not supplant the school budget.

Rep. James Vallee, D-Franklin, has also told the group he has earmarked $25,000 for the Brick School, Hunter and Brick School House Association Secretary Paula Sandham said.
Vallee could not be reached to confirm the earmark, though his staff director, Erin L. Souza, said he has not yet made a decision on the association's request for the funds.
This would be a dangerous precedent if true. While Rep. Vallee has been very successful in providing funds to Franklin via the Chapter 70 allocation and other grants, an earmark would cross the border of who controls and determines the funding for education in Franklin; our state Rep or the School Committee?

As I have mentioned elsewhere, the real focus needs to be on the total budget for Franklin education. We can not afford to loose 45 teachers. The trend in the last several years is for providing less than the level service of the prior year. If the cuts (as forecasted) do go through, the trend of being a high performing district will begin to show up in next year's MCAS results. Another year or two of more cuts and we'll be in similar straits as Randolph.

Franklin has gotten used to living of the largess of the Commonwealth. Chapter 70 provides half the funding for our schools (see the state trending information put together by two Arlington residents).

Will Franklin decide to start paying their own way?
How much educational funding will that equate to?