A word on the current state of the MPS budget

We, the school committee and MPS administration, have a $177k deficit in the current revised draft budget. This is reduced from the more than $1M deficit we initially started budget deliberations with, back in February. Recall the goal here is to level service the district. The deficit here is the difference between the overall budget number the City gave MPS to work within and what MPS administration stated is needed to keep the current level of services to all the district’s children.
To get to this point, the following list of changes have been made:
Note: fees at ECC have been increased, various open positions within the district have been closed, cuts were made across the board to all departments, notably with regards to instructional materials, all with the guiding goal of keeping teachers and paras in front of students. Tonight the School Committee is considering raising fees at Education Stations, in addition to athletics fees and other extracurricular activities. In this current revision is a freeze on Superintendent salary, elimination of virtual high school, freeing up for use existing funds from School Choice tuitions and lastly a reduction of three (3) administrative positions, though this latter needs a vote tonight to approve.
A quick discussion on the athletics fees being considered tonight, the MPS administration did a comparison of the amount MIAA districts subsidize their athletics.
MIAA athletic fees
The justification for asking families of athletes to pay higher fees is Melrose subsidizes athletics by 58%, and the average is 55%. The actual fees to be adjusted can be viewed on page 204 of the agenda packet but a snapshot of the table is attached below.
I welcome feedback, comments and concerns.
Note: While any images I have used are pulled directly from the agenda for tonight’s meeting, there may be the perception of bias. I apologize. Any bias, opinion or expression above is my own and not representative of either the school committee wholly or individually, or the Melrose Public School Administration. These are merely the facts as I understand them.
Disclosure: I currently have one student athlete at the High School (boys soccer). I have filed the appropriate Conflict of Interest form with the Melrose City Clerk.

Preview of Agenda for MSC 4/26/2016 Meeting

The agenda for tomorrow night’s meeting is out. Here is a quick preview of what’s on tap.
There will be votes on:
 The consent agenda
– Warrants (pg 9)
– MHS Senior class field trip (Canobie Lake Park) (pg 6)
– Approval of the minutes for the April 12, 2016 meeting. (available on the IQM2 meeting website after MSC approval)
Educational Programs and Personnel
– the MVMMS program of studies (pg 57)
– the Professional Development Plan (PDP) for FY17 (pg 97) and for the Summer institute (pg 130)
– a realignment of department chairs, including the reduction of 3 administrator positions (pg 189 of packet, pgs 1 & 52 of the MPS FY16-17 Budget, revision #3)
Finance and Facilities
– Education Station fees (pg 197)
– Athletic, activity, music and other fees (pg 202)
– Prepayment of FY17 expenses from FY15/16 unused school choice/tuition funds, reducing the forecast deficit for FY17 (pg 214)
The following are up for likely a prolonged discussion:
– MPS Strategy Overview (pg 216)
Do not hesitate to reach out to me (ldeselm@cityofmelrose.org) or the school committee (schoolcommittee@cityofmelrose.org) with any questions, comments or concerns with any of the above.