FRANKLIN ANNUAL TOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT MEETING

April 30, 2019

 

Tim Magnant called the School meeting to order at 7:07 PM. 

           

 

TOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT MEETING

 

1.      Shall the voters of the Franklin School District approve the School Directors to expend $1,966,928 which is the amount the School Directors have determined to be necessary for the ensuing fiscal year? It is estimated that this proposed budget, if approved, will result in education spending of $15,263 per equalized pupil.  This projected spending per equalized pupil is 13.37% higher than spending for the current year. 

 

Jean Richard moved, seconded by David Bennion to approve the sum of $1,966,928 necessary for the ensuing fiscal year.  Tim stated that the school directors would like to provide a budget informational slide show for the community. 

 

Bob Berger explained that this is an unusual situation we are all in at the end of April talking about a budget.  Due to Act 46, they didn’t get the information they needed from the State to move the budget forward.  We are trying to reflect in this budget what we actually spend in this building prior to a potential merged budget.  Joyce has always done everything she can to keep this budget as lean as possible.  We have been very efficient and have been the lowest spending in the State for many years.  As we go into a unified situation, a merged budget, we wanted Franklin School to put in the budget what they actually spend and what is needed for the maintenance of the school. 

 

 Devin Bachelder provided a budget overview with the following power point presentation: The proposed local budget for FY 2019-2020 is $1,966,928. This represents an increase of $182,138 over the current years budget of $1,784,790.

The School Board, administration and staff have worked collaboratively to build a budget that is fiscally sound and yet supports the educational needs of all students. NET EDUCATION SPENDING

“NET EDUCATION SPENDING” is the District’s approved expenditures (Budget and any approved articles) minus projected revenues.  NET ED SPENDING PER PUPIL COMPARISON

FY20 Net Ed Spending per Pupil = $15,263

FY19 Net Ed Spending per Pupil = $13,464

Difference of $1,799 or 13.37% over FY19

***     ***     ***     ***     ***     ***

State Average Ed Spending FY17 =  $14,652

Salaries & Benefits: Professional Staff Salaries

Negotiated contract in place July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2019 has been extended through June 30, 2020. Teachers will receive a step increase of $1800, $1400 or $1200. Consistent salary schedule across all school districts within FNWSU beginning FY19. Support Staff Wages Increase in hourly wages as well as any staffing changes. Health & Dental Insurances Insurance group-purchased with other school districts across VT. Effective 1/1/18, the plans offered by VSBIT changed to more closely align with the less expensive plans offered through the HealthCare Exchange. Premium increase of 11.8% announced for 7/1/19. Increase in employee participation FY19. Dental Insurance premium steady. State to negotiate plans starting FY21. Existing intervention Positions.  Existing positions with portions not historically reflected in the local Franklin budget as they were funded directly with Title fund in the past.

.4 and .75 FTE now moved into instructional salaries line to reflect actual positions needed at Franklin School. Offsetting revenue will be reflected on revenue side and in tax rate calculation. No additional impact to tax payers. Custodial staff: Currently 1.625 FTE, Proposed increase of .375 FTE, Building use has increased to include many nights, weekend and Summer days. Other proposed Budget Increases

Franklin has had very modest historical increases and has often utilized any available outside revenues to supplement the general fund. Some rightsizing to actuals is necessary to ensure assets are protected and maintained and true anticipated expenses are able to be funded if outside resources are unavailable.

Proposed increases:

          $2,000 to Instructional Supplies

          $5,900 to Coursework Reimbursement and Staff Development

          $3,800 to Computer Software

          $4,000 to Technology Equipment

          $10,000 to Plant Operations Repair and Maintenance

          $1,750 to Plant Operations Equipment

          $5,000 to Food Service Repair and Maintenance and Equipment

Fiscal Services Bookkeeping Services line reduced to $0 from $18,140

 School District was contracting with Town of Franklin for School District Bookkeeping services. Town has decided not to continue. Duties will be performed by SU Business Office. No additional funds are needed by the SU for this purpose. $2,080 budgeted under Fiscal Purchased Professional Services to pay Town for School District Treasurer responsibilities. All three Franklin School Board members serve on the FNWSU Board.  The SU board adopts a budget & allocates it among the member school districts. [16 V.S.A. §261(a) and §301]. The SU costs, minus offsetting revenue, are included in each district budget as an assessment. Central Office: Draft FY20 Budget = $1,586,161     Assessed based on prior year enrollment.

This budget includes but is not limited to:  Superintendent, Curriculum & Grant Coordinator, Technology Coordination, Human Resources, Business Management, Fiscal Services, Data Support, Office Management and Operation.  Central Office Increase Factors:  FY19 Enrollment – 142. An increase of 17 students from FY18 (125) Central Office Assessment assessed based on enrollment as agreed to by the FNWSU Board. Staff Health Insurance premium increase 11.8%. Staff salary increases for FY20 proposed to average 3% or less. Early Childhood Program Budget. Draft FY20 Budget = $1,342,293    

Estimated total amount to be assessed = $1,076,536, Estimated amount of Franklin’s portion of assessment =   $92,019. Assessed based on prior year grade 1-3 ADM. This budget provides the services of:  ECP Administration & Clerical support, Preschool Teachers & paraprofessionals, Speech Services, Special Education.  Assessment paid by town school districts, not MVU. Early Childhood Cost Drivers

 -  Teacher salaries & benefits as negotiated locally through SU-wide

            staff negotiation process. Health Insurance premium increase 11.8%. Increased paraprofessional support impacting wages & insurance eligibility  Increased student participation in Preschool Tuition Voucher payment process.  Act 166 legislation expanded requirement to provide preschool opportunities to all 3&4 year old children, for a minimum of 10hours/week.  Same legislation also required SU to pay approx. $3200 tuition per student to eligible childcare providers. School Based Special Education Budgets

Draft FY20 Budget Total = $7,604,431, Estimated total net amount to be assessed = $2,810,367

These budgets provide funding for SU-wide teachers, school psychologists, and speech therapists.  Also includes student tuition and transportation to/from alternative placements, as well as supplies & equipment needs. Estimated Franklin Special Ed Budget = $202,803   Special Education Budget, Administration Budget Component Draft FY20 Budget = $680,336, Total Amount Assessed = $301,856, Franklin Assessment = $17,050, This budget provides the services of:  Special Education Administration & Clerical support, Adapted Curriculum & Occupational Therapy Services.[Curriculum & OT services are grant funded positions] Estimated net assessment = $70,441

Franklin County Spending

            Spending/Pupil             

                        FY20 Franklin (K-6)                      $ 15,263                    

                         

                        FY19 County Average                     $ 13,654                              

                                   

                        FY17 VT Statewide Average            $ 14,652

Unknowns / Risks that Impact Tax Rates

Small Schools Grant revenue only guaranteed for FY20 if merge into MVSD. If Franklin remains its own School District, this will be dependent on enrollment each year and ultimately up to the State Board of Education to decide and award. Factors Affecting the Tax Rate:

Budget – Proposed by School Board, decided by Taxpayers

Special Article(s) – Proposed by School Board, decided by Taxpayers

Revenues – includes fund balance carryover, local and state/federal funding not related to property taxes and/or State Education fund.

Property Tax Yield – Set by legislature (current projections based on Yield of $10,565)

Ratio of Resident Students – for FY20, resident Franklin students 47.8% Elem / 52.2% MVU

Common Level of Appraisal (CLA) – Franklin 101.12% FY20

     down slightly from 102.43% in FY19

Act 46

Sheldon may being moved to other SU

Projected Homestead Tax Rate After CLA Adjustment

                                                2018-19 2019-20 Increase

Franklin                                      $0.628             $0.683              $0.055

Based on current calculations, total projected tax rate would increase approximately:

Franklin - $0.055, or $55 per $100,000 assessed homestead value.

This is the for Franklin School only, MVU information is not yet available.

FY20 Projected Rates are calculated using an estimated Property Tax

Yield of $10,565 – actual yield and tax rate to be billed may vary based

on any legislative action taken during the current session.

 

Devin Bachelder completed his presentation.  Tim Magnant asked the voters if they had any questions.

 

Kim Gates inquired about the Special Education Paraprofessional increase.  With the permission of the voters Joyce Hakey explained that each year paraprofessionals work in Special Education and Regular education.  Depending on the needs of the students, changes in special education needs, change in number of students the amount of time in regular education and special education can change and increase in one area or the other. Kim also asked about the pupil transportation page with the shift downward.  The board explained that it has been shifted to the Supervisory Union by law and this expense is the net result.

 

Tim asked if there were any additional questions.  Hearing none, Tim asked if they were ready to vote.

 

Jay Denault asked if they could vote by paper ballot.  Tim stated that they needed seven people to go to paper ballot.  Seven people stood up and the voters proceeded to vote by paper ballot.  

 

The results of the vote was announced by Tim with 50 votes cast, 46 voted yes and 4 voted no, the article passed.  Tim announced that the voters have passed the budget for the next fiscal year.

 

2.      Will the voters of the Franklin School District authorize the School Directors to borrow money in anticipation of taxes?

 

Jean Richard moved, seconded by Bryant Reynolds to authorize the School Directors to borrow money in anticipation of taxes.  Voice vote taken, All voted in favor, the article passed. 

 

3.      To elect a Franklin School Director for a term of three (3) years.

 

Pierrette Bouchard nominated Bob Berger, seconded by Philip Bouchard.  Nominations were closed.  Voice vote taken, all voted in favor of electing Bob Berger.

 

 

4.      To transact any other business legally authorized to be transacted; considered appropriate and necessary when met. 

 

Jay Denault spoke about the hours that the attorneys have worked tirelessly trying to defend the Act 46 lawsuit.  He understands that the school can not use funds for attorneys for the Act 46 lawsuit but he would like $500.00 allocated to cover the court costs.  Tim Magnant stated that this is not legal.  He explained that if the voters wanted to challenge the moderator’s ruling that they are welcome to do so.  Jay Denault motion to challenge the moderator’s ruling.  Doug Clark seconded the motion.  Jay Denault said that it is not legal to appropriate school funds but the $500.00 for legal fees is not coming out of the school, it is coming out of our pockets.  Please make this gesture for our attorneys who are working really hard.  Jean Richard explained that she has always understood that in this article, any motion for expending funds in dollars is not legally binding because it is not warned.  Jean says that under this article, we could not do this, it is not legally binding.  Kim Gates asked for clarification.  She asked the moderator when he goes through moderator training, what was the last time that he had this training?  Tim state that every year that the has gone through moderator training, he has been told that it is not legal to make a money motion during this article, can not do money articles during this article.  Tim stated that Yvon Dandurand attends the trainings with him and asked him for his understanding.  Yvon stated that you can vote on them but they become non-binding.  Tim continued to state that the last article is non-binding and it is a straw poll.   Tim called for a voice vote and the voters voted the objection down and it did not pass.   Jay Denault felt that this was getting tripped up on a technicality and this was a cost of 54 cents per voter for all the work that the attorneys have done.  Jon Gates stated that they are not saying that we are not supportive of Jay’s motion, it is just not legal. 

 

Kim Gates asked if it is appropriate to take a straw poll for the $500 for court fees to give guidance to the board. Kim moved a straw poll to give $500 for the court fees.  She stated that we all worked very hard to keep our school and if we want the board to give towards this cause, it is just a guidance to the board.  It will give information to them to move forward.  Jean asked if this will come out of the current budget or next year’s budget before it is co-mingled with the rest of the other schools in the district.  She fully supports the straw poll.   Bob Berger stated that the guidance we received is that education funds cannot be used for the lawsuit.  These attorneys have worked in our behalf tirelessly, it is resource intensive.  There is a link on the FNWSU website or Town Website that you may donate money towards this cause.  Kim Gates asked if we can not use school funds, can we provide guidance to use town funds?  Jonathan Gates believes that the town of Montgomery has donated funds from the town budget.   Kim changed her motion to donate $500.00 from the town budget funds as a straw poll to pay for court costs and fees to go on fighting Act 46.  Tim asked all who are in favor having $500 from the town budget, please stand up.   The voters voted 42 for and 0 opposed to approve the straw poll to use town funds. 

 

Bob Berger announced if any voter would like to donate to the Act 46 legal funds, they will put the donate back on the Supervisory Union face book page for people to use if they want to donate their personal funds. 

 

Kim Gates asked clarification where do we go from here?  She thanked the school board for their tremendous amount of work that they have done and she thanked the staff that has made our school so special.  (applause from the voters)

 

Bob Berger responded as the law stands now that the Missisquoi Valley School District will become operational on July 1, 2019 barring any court action or legislative delay.  The Franklin School Board will dissolve.  The board will remain open for audit purposes until December 31, 2019.  Barring any legislative relief, at this time, H39 merger delay will quite likely die where it sits because the legislators can not come to a compromise. Half of the Act 46 lawsuit appeal is going to supreme court for appeal, half are still being heard at superior court. 

 

Yvon Dandurand asked about the zero turn and the tractor transfer to the town.  Bob has responded that they have had preliminary conversations around that, and they have talked about it a little at the informational meeting.  It is an ongoing conversation and haven’t reached a full plan as of yet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Doug Clark made the motion, seconded by Bryant Reynolds to adjourn, all in favor. Meeting adjourned at 8:15 p.m.

 

Franklin School Directors                                   

 

______________________                                  

            Robert Berger

 

______________________                                                                                   Devin Bachelder

 

______________________                                                                                   Jonathan Gates

 

 

 

Attest: ___________________________Lisa Larivee, Town Clerk

 

                        These minutes were approved by the School Board at the May 21, 2019                                 meeting.