In full transparency, the following is a press release from the Framingham Public Schools.
FRAMINGHAM – The Framingham Public Schools (FPS) and the Framingham School Committee have launched a planning and outreach effort around the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 budget development process. Over the next month, stakeholders will have the opportunity to learn about and offer feedback on the District’s plans before a vote on the FY23 budget proposal by the School Committee is scheduled for March 30, 2022.
“I remain committed to working collaboratively with the Framingham School Committee, Mayor Sisitsky, and the Framingham City Council, as well as municipal departments and division heads,” said Superintendent Bob Tremblay. “Our mission-driven budget book illustrates precisely how taxpayer dollars are spent in the school department. How money is spent speaks directly to what the school department values and upon close inspection you will see that each and every expense ties back to the strategic goals and objectives that we have developed in concert with our administrators, teachers, community partners, community members, and our most valued stakeholders, our students.”
“As fewer discussions are centered around the pandemic, we have the opportunity and the responsibility to gather information and valuable input from the public to shape a mission driven path towards the future,” offered Priscila Sousa, Chair of the School Committee, District 5. “The best way forward is with a process rich in collaboration and innovation with data driven decisions aligning with our strategic goals. We will continue tireless advocacy for students, staff and needs that have been brought to us time and time again by our constituents.”
Framingham Public Schools has begun the outreach about the budget process in partnership with organizations such as Parent Teacher Organizations, the Framingham Teachers Association, the Framingham Special Education Parent Advisory Council, Framingham Families for Racial Equity in Education, the Bilingual Parent Advisory Council, the Dual Language Parent Advisory Council, and more.
The budget process will also include discussions and alignment on funding from the Commonwealth’s Student Opportunity Act (SOA). Passed in 2019, the SOA implements the recommendations of the 2015 Foundation Budget Review Commission and includes other provisions to benefit public schools over the next five years. The main focus of the legislation is to invest in evidence based areas to improve student outcomes within subgroups who are not achieving at the same high levels as their peers. The FPS and School Committee’s submitted budget will include a plan aligned with the SOA after engaging with stakeholders, building on current programs, and ultimately proposing to invest in evidence-based initiatives to deepen success.
The FY23 budget process began earlier this school year with school principals and department directors working on individual budget sheet requests. All requests and all costs must be associated with the District’s Strategic Plan. Together with the Business Office, multiple meetings have occurred with school principals and directors to go through expense requests (office supplies, professional development, instructional supplies, etc.), additional salary requests and any new position requests they may have for FY23. The District continues to work on crafting the FY23 budget and seeks input before the formal presentation to the public and School Committee on March 16th when the annual public hearing on the budget is scheduled.
“Work on the FY23 budget started back in October 2022,” said Lincoln Lynch IV, Executive Director of Finance and Operations for Framingham Public Schools. “Since then, our principals, directors and their staff have done an incredible job working through the budget process while navigating the many other non-budgetary challenges this year has presented. A zero-based budget mindset has been in place since the start, and we continue to collaborate and engage with the School Committee, the City Council and the Mayor to establish a fiscally responsible FY23 budget. It has been a cooperative effort between FPS, the Council and the Mayor’s office, and I look forward to working jointly over the next couple months to get to an approved budget in June. Preliminary FY23 Chapter 70 State Aid numbers show $68,853,477 for Framingham, a 20.72% increase to the current FY22 State Aid amount. This additional aid will help us move the District’s academic and social emotional initiatives forward, supporting all of our students, as we align our work with our strategic plan.”
During recent School Committee meetings members and FPS presenters have discussed the ongoing COVID-19 management needs, opportunities to support student achievement, new support expected from the Commonwealth with a 20% increase in support proposed in the Governor’s Budget through Chapter 70 funding for Framingham, and expected cost drivers:
- Continued enrollment growth in 2022-2023;
- Out-of-District special education costs and possible legal expenses to provide educational services as provided in student Individualized Education Programs remain as another uncertainty;
- All six collective bargaining agreements are in the process of different stages of being finalized and/or renegotiated, historically with Cost Of Living Adjustments (COLAs);
- Lost in-person learning time, mental health supports, and other pandemic-related impacts requiring additional funding in the next school year and/or post pandemic.
A memo on the FY23 Budget development process and schedule can be found here: Fiscal Year 2022-2023(FY23) Budget Development Schedule. The District’s current FY23 Budget overview and status can be found here: FY23 Budget Presentation School Committee.
FY23 Planning Schedule
At the next series of School Committee meetings, FPS and members will review FY23 budget proposals. A public hearing on the budget has been scheduled for March 16, 2022. Additional meetings are scheduled and all offer public participation opportunities on March 2 and March 30. Subcommittee meetings are anticipated to be scheduled during the month as well. All School Committee meetings offer members of the public up to two or three minutes to speak at the start of any meeting, an additional option during the annual public hearing on the budget, and a third additional opportunity available at the end of meetings if requested. Public comment rules can be found here: Public Comment Period
A final vote on the school district’s budget submission to the Mayor is scheduled for March 30, 2022. All School Committee meetings are scheduled for 7:00 p.m. in the Memorial Building’s Blumer Room, and can be watched live on The Government Channel on local cable, on Facebook Live on the FPS Facebook Page, on Zoom, or by audio through the phone, with video recordings available online by the next day. Those interested are also welcome to email ideas to the School Committee and Superintendent. For agendas, meeting materials, and email addresses, visit the School Committee’s website.
The following meetings are expected at this time. Additional School Committee Subcommittee Meetings are expected to occur as well. Check the website for confirmation, and for the specific listings for when FY23 agenda items and public comment are scheduled.
March 2: School Committee Meeting, Continued FY23 Budget Discussions and Fee Reviews, 7 p.m.
March 16: School Committee Meeting, Annual Superintendent and Executive Director of Finance & Operations Budget Proposal Presentation & Public Hearing on the FY23 Budget Proposal, 7 p.m.
March 30: School Committee Meeting, Vote to Submit the FY23 Budget Request to the Mayor, 7 p.m.
After the School Committee’s submission, per City Charter, the Mayor will review the request and send a budget proposal to the City Council by early May for their review, consideration, and votes before the end of the Fiscal Year June 30.