Ayer-Shirley regional schools must 'd...

Ayer-Shirley regional schools must 'drill down' on delta

There are 13 comments on the Nashoba Publishing story from Jan 7, 2011, titled Ayer-Shirley regional schools must 'drill down' on delta. In it, Nashoba Publishing reports that:

Town Administrator Robert Pontbriand told selectmen Tuesday night that Ayer school Superintendent George Frost will appear at the board's next meeting on Jan.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Nashoba Publishing.

the time is now

Hyde Park, MA

#1 Jan 7, 2011
I think all unions need to work with the towns over this contract phase. Those in the private sector are having to give up raises and pay more into their health insurance in order to keep their jobs. State/town employees need to see that we are in tough times and tough times require sacrafices. My husband is in the pricate sector and has made tremendous sacrafices in order to keep his job. I am a teacher and feel that I should not expect any raise. In addition, I have volunteered to take on an additional class while someone is out for the rest of the year for no additional pay. Some of my collegues have done the same so we do not have to hire another teacher for the remainder of the year. We need to work together to get through tough times! It's the right thing to do! And certainly, as a teacher, it's the right thing to do for kids!
right on

Pepperell, MA

#2 Jan 7, 2011
the time is now wrote:
I think all unions need to work with the towns over this contract phase. Those in the private sector are having to give up raises and pay more into their health insurance in order to keep their jobs. State/town employees need to see that we are in tough times and tough times require sacrafices. My husband is in the pricate sector and has made tremendous sacrafices in order to keep his job. I am a teacher and feel that I should not expect any raise. In addition, I have volunteered to take on an additional class while someone is out for the rest of the year for no additional pay. Some of my collegues have done the same so we do not have to hire another teacher for the remainder of the year. We need to work together to get through tough times! It's the right thing to do! And certainly, as a teacher, it's the right thing to do for kids!
Right on, and I commend you, as a teacher, for coming forth and reinforcing that it's going to take a shared sacrifice to keep our towns and school districts going. Great job! Thank you for taking on more without asking for additional compensation--what a great example to your students!
huh

Maynard, MA

#3 Jan 7, 2011
"Maxant noted that school budgets are personnel heavy. "We're asking the personnel for the rest of the town to take no increase. Any increase for the school would almost certainly go to personnel." He stressed that any Ayer contribution above the $8.3 million assumed assessment "would be just a betrayal to town employees."

Yes Frank, but, the schools are heavy at the top. As promised, when regionalization was being solicited, let's demand that there is "one" super, "one" business manager, "one" director of SPED, and "one" Technology director. And let's pay very close attention that they do NOT create "new" positions to accommodate the double positions that exist today.
SuperintendentS

Shrewsbury, MA

#4 Jan 8, 2011
huh wrote:
"Maxant noted that school budgets are personnel heavy. "We're asking the personnel for the rest of the town to take no increase. Any increase for the school would almost certainly go to personnel." He stressed that any Ayer contribution above the $8.3 million assumed assessment "would be just a betrayal to town employees."
Yes Frank, but, the schools are heavy at the top. As promised, when regionalization was being solicited, let's demand that there is "one" super, "one" business manager, "one" director of SPED, and "one" Technology director. And let's pay very close attention that they do NOT create "new" positions to accommodate the double positions that exist today.
Personnel heavy would include the top brass, no? Also, nothing Frank and Co. can do about it now because they are entirely separate from the towns unless town meetings want to do away with the regional dis. Frank opposed this very loss of municipal control from the get go.
Ayerman

Lexington, MA

#5 Jan 9, 2011
I find it disconcerting that citizens complain about the school district and then do not support what the district needs so that it can improve the things they complain about. It is also disconcerting that the BOS and TA from Ayer would make public comments that appear in in the press without having ever had the same conversation with school officials. The current budget figure is a fabrication - not anything based in reality. It is a number that was made up in order to facilitate a long term study. The Ayer Shirley Regional School Committee has not voted nor approved any budget number because it does not yet exist.

In ayer's recent history, if the Fire Dept needs a truck or some special protective gear to do their job then the community supports it. Not true when it comes to the schools. If DPW needs a new vehicle to better clear or repair roads then the town supports it. Not true when it comes to the schools. If the Police Department needs a new vehicle for patrolman then the town supports it. Not true when it comes to the schools. The school needed a truck on campus and what it got was a hand me down that was poorly equipped for the function and was cleaned up and painted to look official by a talented school employee.

You get what you pay for. If you want a top notch school district then you need to support it and give it the resources to deliver the kind of services you want. We have done this with other departments and they are providing great services. While at the same time, children are going to school in buildings that do not work. The employees in the district are working hard and long hours to provide a great curriculum but are missing things like books, technology and equipment. If you have any doubts talk to them, go to a school committee meeting, get informed and you will find out what is really happening. Good people are spending time and in some cases, their own money to do the right thing and provide as good an education as they can with what they have.
ThanksAyerMan

Minot, MA

#6 Jan 9, 2011
Thank you Ayer Man for your considered input. A few other key points:

- Mr. Pontbriand is new to the town and as such was no where near the regional planning process. He has less sense of the schools and school budget than any other duty is his new position. Wanna know how many regional school committee meetings he has been to? None. Same for Mr. Maxant and every other BoS member. He needs to understand the $8.3 million was a guessitmate based on this year's budget. He also acts like this region has been in existence for years. It hasn't even opened yet. That is July 1. This is all new to everyone and the regional planning board did a great job of planning. They were not the regional school committee and the data changes everyday. Ayer will get $1 million plus in new money through taxation this year. Is Mr. Pontbriand saying all of that should go to town depts. to help them with their deficits, but not the Ayer portion of the school region budget?

- Everyoen keeps saying the region is "top heavy" on admin. It doesn't even exist yet. There is Ayer and there is Shirley. So you have duplication of positions because there are duplicate school districts. This talk of three supts. and 2 of everything else is nonsense. When the regional admin structure is finalized there will be on supt. with Mr Frost and Mr Reid retiring, there will be one SPED director with a staff as there is today, one tech director with a staff, etc. Why staff you ask? Go ask the same question in town hall, where this is an admin asst. for every dept and an assistant for very dept - asst town clerk, asst. town treasurer, asst. town accountant, etc. Every head needs some staff to carry out basic duties. The task is to make sure there is an adequate balance of workers for the work that needs to be done so we're not overpaying. If you want to challenge the amount of admin and staff support in the schools, fine. Just do the same at town hall. And while you're doing it, consider there is one town hall with about what - 50 employees tops? The school region will have 4 buildings over two towns with 1600 students to serve and over 100 staff to serve and support.
snookered

Shrewsbury, MA

#7 Jan 9, 2011
smoke and mirrors - keep everyone away from the curtain. stop dancing and delaying and come out with real figures. you are proving yourselves to be either a bunch of liers or idiots easily led by the nose. you neednt attend every meeting to know when you are being snookered. good for pontbriand for calling you out
the time is now

Hyde Park, MA

#8 Jan 10, 2011
Ayerman wrote:
I find it disconcerting that citizens complain about the school district and then do not support what the district needs so that it can improve the things they complain about. It is also disconcerting that the BOS and TA from Ayer would make public comments that appear in in the press without having ever had the same conversation with school officials. The current budget figure is a fabrication - not anything based in reality. It is a number that was made up in order to facilitate a long term study. The Ayer Shirley Regional School Committee has not voted nor approved any budget number because it does not yet exist.
In ayer's recent history, if the Fire Dept needs a truck or some special protective gear to do their job then the community supports it. Not true when it comes to the schools. If DPW needs a new vehicle to better clear or repair roads then the town supports it. Not true when it comes to the schools. If the Police Department needs a new vehicle for patrolman then the town supports it. Not true when it comes to the schools. The school needed a truck on campus and what it got was a hand me down that was poorly equipped for the function and was cleaned up and painted to look official by a talented school employee.
You get what you pay for. If you want a top notch school district then you need to support it and give it the resources to deliver the kind of services you want. We have done this with other departments and they are providing great services. While at the same time, children are going to school in buildings that do not work. The employees in the district are working hard and long hours to provide a great curriculum but are missing things like books, technology and equipment. If you have any doubts talk to them, go to a school committee meeting, get informed and you will find out what is really happening. Good people are spending time and in some cases, their own money to do the right thing and provide as good an education as they can with what they have.
Well said!!! I totally agree!
the time is now

Hyde Park, MA

#9 Jan 10, 2011
ThanksAyerMan wrote:
Thank you Ayer Man for your considered input. A few other key points:
- Mr. Pontbriand is new to the town and as such was no where near the regional planning process. He has less sense of the schools and school budget than any other duty is his new position. Wanna know how many regional school committee meetings he has been to? None. Same for Mr. Maxant and every other BoS member. He needs to understand the $8.3 million was a guessitmate based on this year's budget. He also acts like this region has been in existence for years. It hasn't even opened yet. That is July 1. This is all new to everyone and the regional planning board did a great job of planning. They were not the regional school committee and the data changes everyday. Ayer will get $1 million plus in new money through taxation this year. Is Mr. Pontbriand saying all of that should go to town depts. to help them with their deficits, but not the Ayer portion of the school region budget?
- Everyoen keeps saying the region is "top heavy" on admin. It doesn't even exist yet. There is Ayer and there is Shirley. So you have duplication of positions because there are duplicate school districts. This talk of three supts. and 2 of everything else is nonsense. When the regional admin structure is finalized there will be on supt. with Mr Frost and Mr Reid retiring, there will be one SPED director with a staff as there is today, one tech director with a staff, etc. Why staff you ask? Go ask the same question in town hall, where this is an admin asst. for every dept and an assistant for very dept - asst town clerk, asst. town treasurer, asst. town accountant, etc. Every head needs some staff to carry out basic duties. The task is to make sure there is an adequate balance of workers for the work that needs to be done so we're not overpaying. If you want to challenge the amount of admin and staff support in the schools, fine. Just do the same at town hall. And while you're doing it, consider there is one town hall with about what - 50 employees tops? The school region will have 4 buildings over two towns with 1600 students to serve and over 100 staff to serve and support.
Again...Well said!
taxpayer

Westford, MA

#10 Jan 10, 2011
all the unions in town will agree to no raises, will the school dept ? 3 and 5 percent budget cuts for all town dept's, will the school dept cut their budget? Regionalizing was a bad idea and it didn't take long for the negatives to appear.
reading

Ayer, MA

#11 Jan 11, 2011
taxpayer wrote:
all the unions in town will agree to no raises, will the school dept ? 3 and 5 percent budget cuts for all town dept's, will the school dept cut their budget? Regionalizing was a bad idea and it didn't take long for the negatives to appear.
When did the unions agree to not take a pay raise and where do I find this conversation? I understand it to be quite different. As far as negatives "appearing" regarding regionalizing I don't see any. I do, however, see negatives due to reductions in ch. 70 aid, continued decrease in special education funding, and increases in mandates that are not funded at all. Those are the things that affect the schools and towns financially. As far as education is concerned, I have seen some positive changes in a short amount of time because of regionalizing.
Local citizen

Hudson, MA

#12 Jan 11, 2011
From a MDESE publication. "Typically, school committee and municiple school appropriations, approved annually by town meetings and city councils, account for seven out of 8 dollars spent on education. In FY09 that number has dropped slightly, primarily due to the replacement of Chapter 70 appropriations with $412 million of state fiscal stabilization fund federal grants due to the state budget crisis."
So, if Chap. 70 money is only 1/8th. of school expenditure and there is an influx of $412 million just where are the "negative due to reductions in ch. 70 aid '?.
inquiry

Hyde Park, MA

#13 Jan 13, 2011
Local citizen wrote:
From a MDESE publication. "Typically, school committee and municiple school appropriations, approved annually by town meetings and city councils, account for seven out of 8 dollars spent on education. In FY09 that number has dropped slightly, primarily due to the replacement of Chapter 70 appropriations with $412 million of state fiscal stabilization fund federal grants due to the state budget crisis."
So, if Chap. 70 money is only 1/8th. of school expenditure and there is an influx of $412 million just where are the "negative due to reductions in ch. 70 aid '?.
I don't know what you are asking since the amount of ch. 70 aid is different from one town to the next. Shirley counts on more ch 70 aid than Ayer and makes up about half of their budget. A 10% hit in ch 70 significantly impacts Shirley's schools.

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