May 27, 2020 Budget Sub Meeting


Quincy School Committee
Budget & Finance Subcommittee

via Remote Technology
Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.
Mr. Anthony Andronico , Chair

Per Governor Baker’s order suspending certain provisions of the Open Meeting Law,
G.L. c. 30A sec. 20, the public will not be allowed to physically access this School
Committee meeting. Members of the Public can access the meeting audio live on
QATV Channel 22 or at The meeting will also be recorded for rebroadcast
and posted on the QPS website on Friday, May 29, 2020. 

  1. Discussion of the Proposed FY2021 Quincy Public Schools Budget - Mr. Andronico, Mr. Mulvey, Mr. Mullaney

  2. Adjournment


Quincy School Committee

FY2021 Budget & Finance Subcommittee ~ May 27, 2020

A meeting of the Budget & Finance Subcommittee was held on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at 6:00 pm via remote technology. Present were Mayor Thomas Koch, Mr. Paul Bregoli, Mr. Douglas Gutro, Mrs. Kathryn Hubley, Mrs. Emily Lebo, Mr. Frank Santoro, and Mr. Anthony Andronico, Chair. Also attending were Superintendent DeCristofaro, Deputy Superintendent Kevin Mulvey, Ms. Marisa Forrester, Mr. James Mullaney, Ms. Maura Papile, Ms. Erin Perkins, Ms. Madeline Roy, and Ms. Laura Owens, Clerk.

Deputy Superintendent Kevin Mulvey reviewed that the funding from Mayor Koch and the Quincy City Council will allow for the maintenance of level services and no reductions in staffing for FY2021. In preparing the budget, the priorities keep students at the center with Academic Classroom Teachers, Academic Programs, and Academic Support and inform shifting and increasing while maintaining the favorable class sizes that are a priority for the School Committee.

Mr. Mullaney shared the draft FY2021 Budget Book with School Committee and highlights of the budget: the proposed budget is $117,385,590.00, the majority of which is provided by the City of Quincy through the Mayor’s Appropriation of $111,185,590; projected Circuit Breaker Funding of $5,200,000 for Special Education tuitions; and CARES Act Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund of $1,000,000. Within this level-service funded budget, there is approximately $780,021.00 available for additional budget enhancements. Quincy Public Schools per-pupil spending is well above the foundational budget level required. This budget includes contractual step and level increases in the amount of $1,676,000.00.

For Academic Program teachers, the proposal is to add 1.5 elementary Academic Classroom Teachers to address class size and 1.0 high school teacher for ELL support. For Academic Programs, the proposal is to add a 1.0 EL teacher, 2.0 Special Education teachers to expand the Language Development program, 1.0 Special Education teacher to expand the CARES program, 1 Special Education teacher for Orton Gillingham, 1.0 Speech Therapy Teacher, and 2.0 Literacy Teachers. In Academic Support, the recommendation is to add 1.0 Guidance staff, 1.0 Tech Inventory manager, and 1.0 Central Office Administrator. For Non-Academic Support, Academic Expenses, and Non-Academic Expenses, no changes are suggested. For Subsidized Services, the recommendation is for retaining the existing rates for Athletics, Building Rentals, Food Services, and Transportation.

In summary, of the budget funding increases, 18% will be for Academic Classroom Teachers, 55% for Academic Programs, 27% for Academic Support.

Mr. Bregoli asked about cost savings in this fiscal year, Mr. Mullaney said this money has been returned to the City of Quincy in order to address any revenue shortfalls and otherwise be designated to free cash in the City’s general fund. Mr. Bregoli asked about the summer programming for Special Education students. Mr. Mulvey said the remote summer program will be on the agenda for next meeting and is being funded by Mayor Koch from the CARES Act funding.

Mrs. Lebo noted that some of the positions discussed during the Student Opportunity Act presentations accounted for in this budget. Mrs. Lebo asked for clarification on the high school positions, one is an English Learner teacher and the other is an academic teacher to support English Learners in the high school.

Mrs. Lebo asked if the Circuit Breaker funding is likely to be decreased this year. Mr. Mullaney said that the indicators are that an additional anticipated transportation reimbursement rate increase may not come to pass.

Mrs. Lebo asked about the CARES and ESS funding being shared with the private school students in Quincy. Mr. Mullaney said there is discussion underway with Quincy Catholic Academy and he will contact the Woodward School and the Adams Montessori School. Mrs. Lebo said that Campus Kinderhaus may also qualify for their Kindergarten class.

Mrs. Lebo asked about considerations for the fall re-opening, if students come to school in shifts, there may be additional costs. Mr. Mullaney said that this budget is based on the assumption that the school year will start normally, but at the same time planning is underway for other scenarios. There may be additional expenses for PPE and cleaning.

Mayor Koch said that the first CARES Act money is to be used for responses to COVID-19 and would expect additional funding to support other scenarios. Mayor Koch said that the City is trying to prepare for September in the best possible way for all departments.

Mr. Andronico said that DESE Commissioner Riley’s office announced today that he will be releasing guidance on summer programming next week and on school re-opening plans in mid-June.

Mr. Santoro said that the Mayor’s good fiscal management and keeping the Quincy Public Schools a priority has saved us from the hard choices faced by other cities and towns.

Mr. Gutro asked if the presumption on state aid is level to the current year. Mr. Mullaney said originally the Governor’s Budget called for increases due to the Student Opportunity Act ($6.6 million, $3 million for current expenses and $3.6 million on new programming/staffing including the Special Education Learning Center) and for Special Education transportation refunds. At this point, the state budget is not finalized so Mayor Koch has committed that any change in the Chapter 70 funding would be absorbed on the City side.

Mr. Gutro asked if the Student Opportunity Act funding is integrated into this budget proposal and Mr. Mullaney confirmed. Mr. Mulvey said there are meetings with the Citywide, English Learner, and QPAC parents on Tuesday, June 2.

Mayor Koch reminded School Committee that all City of Quincy departments were asked to return any surplus FY2020 funding to the City for allocation to free cash which can be used to mitigate unanticipated expenses and offset revenue shortfalls related to COVID-19. Mayor Koch said all city budgets were level-funded, with the exception of health insurance costs. Mayor Koch said the city is anticipating a 20% cut in local aid, but the Quincy Public Schools budget is protected. Mayor Koch said the goal is to not increase property taxes, but noted that a modest increase might be needed to protect the city from layoffs. Mayor Koch said that Quincy still has a positive outlook for bond rating.

Mr. Gutro agrees with Mayor Koch, state revenue is down and the Student Opportunity Act is unlikely to be funded at the state level.

Mrs. Hubley asked for a job description for the Central Office administrator, originally this was described as a Director of Human Resources, and asked whether this position will be held until the Superintendent position is filled. Mr. Mullaney said that a position description is yet to be created, the hiring timeline dependent on the budget approval and other factors.

Mr. Bregoli is not supportive of creating a new Director position at this time; a goal for this summer is to ensure that the plan for re-opening is developed in a way that staff and parents and students feel safe. Mr. Bregoli requested that Health Commissioner Ruth Jones be involved in a risk assessment.

Mrs. Lebo would like to see the new Central Administration position be curriculum-focused, either for elementary or high school curriculum.

Mr. Gutro agrees that more information is needed about the new position and the selection should be the decision of the new Superintendent.

Mayor Koch said the idea of this position has been around for two years, the Human Resources area has become more complex and includes expanded responsibilities for Educator Evaluation. Mayor Koch said there is a lot of work to be done in preparation for next school year, developing a robust team of substitutes, addressing potential teacher health concerns. Mayor Koch said this person needs to be in place this summer and if School Committee doesn’t want to proceed with this, he will ask City Council to cut the funding from the Quincy Public Schools budget.

Mrs. Lebo is concerned about the optics of this, it implies that Mr. Mulvey is definitely going to be appointed as the Superintendent.

Mayor Koch said the goal of this is building a stronger Central Office team to benefit the school system.

Mr. Andronico said that regardless of who is the new Superintendent, additional support will be needed within the Leadership Team and this position can be defined as the Leadership Team sees fit. There are areas where Dr. DeCristofaro’s experience cannot be replaced and additional support will be needed.

Mr. Santoro said that in a couple of weeks, Mr. Mulvey will be the Interim Superintendent and this will be the busiest time of the year for hiring for the school opening in September and so having the person in place as soon as possible is important.

Mr. Gutro said it is difficult to know whether this is a critical need or not, a new Superintendent is not going to change the role because someone has already been hired with a specific set of skills. Mr. Gutro asked if there is someone who could assume the role temporarily until the new Superintendent is in place.

Mayor Koch made a motion to approve the draft budget as presented. Mr. Bregoli seconded the motion.

On the motion, Mrs. Lebo said the agenda does not specify there would be a vote tonight.

Mayor Koch recommends approving the budget proposal in Subcommittee to move to the full School Committee as the budget is being presented to City Council on May 29.

Mrs. Lebo asked about the Public Hearing on the budget, is still to be scheduled.

Mayor Koch withdrew his motion.

Mrs. Lebo asked if there would need to be an additional Subcommittee meeting to approve the budget before proceeding to final School Committee approval.

Mr. Andronico suggested a Public Hearing be held on June 3 at 6:00 pm.

Mr. Gutro agreed, suggested a Budget & Finance Subcommittee meeting to follow the Public Hearing, and then the Special School Committee Meeting.

Mr. Bregoli asked if the Budget has to remain on the agenda for a meeting prior to being voted on.

Mayor Koch said that is for School Committee Policy only and Mr. Mulvey agreed.

Mr. Bregoli made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:25 pm. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Hubley and on a voice vote, the ayes have it.