Last night at the ’s final budget workshop, -D, District 4, posed a list of 14 questions to the Board of Education regarding their recent $50 million budget proposal. Amore’s first question, “What areas of lagging achievement have you identified? In which school populations?” fueled subsequent questions regarding the BOE’s basis for their budget expenditures. The questions posed were best surmised by number five on the list, “Which parts of the budget - both the overall budget and the requested increase - are targeted to the interventions necessary to increase the district's effectiveness in these areas?” You can see all the RTM Education Committee questions in the attached PDF.
Amore’s request was acknowledge by the Board but the questions were not answered during the meeting.
Today Amore said that she and have discussed the matter and will be meeting regarding the questions and the larger aim of her objectives to create an open dialogue between the BOE and the RTM. Hernandez and Board of Education Chair Frank Carrano were contacted for comment. Stay tuned to Patch for updates.
"The purpose of the questions," Amore commented, "were to start a dialogue and deepen the understanding of both issues, challenges and successes of our school system and how we are using our resources to sustain our successes and meet our challenges."
In no way does the school system have to justify their budget, said Amore, but there is promise in looking at a zero-based budget that allows a broad vantage of how money is being spent.
"When I asked those questions it threw everyone for a loop," commented Amore this afternoon. "My intention is to open the discussions about the overall effectiveness... I didn't come with questions to scold or find fault with the budget. I think they are the right questions to ask but I want to open them to the larger and longer process of communicating to the public in a way they can get their arms around understanding the successes we have and the challenges we have to meet."
With a focus on the community and the RTM members who vote on both the education and town budget, Amore said, "I don't think the RTM can track issues of individual kids. In the absence of real information people fill in the blanks from their own perspectives and I just want to make sure we get a discussion started."
increase over last year earlier this week but accepted by the Board of Education last night at $50,632,604, an increase of 2.97 percent. The budget will now be presented to the Board of Finance for approval before moving on for final approval with the RTM.