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Boston vote against expanding charter schools was pretty overwhelming

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We get more of the status quo- huge achievement gaps with no plan to fix! That's just great!

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We get a bit more time to let the new superintendent try to fix things without more money sucked out of the system.

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Can you show a specific example of a single penny that charters have cost BPS (net)?

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since i don't really understand the intricacies of the funding

but thats ok, i assume that puts me solidly in the majority of everybody else with a vote

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Here you go again.

"In FY17, Boston’s charter assessment is projected to grow by $14 million while the state’s reimbursement is projected to decline by $2 million. This year, Boston will lose $19 million in revenue it is owed due to the underfunding of the charter school reimbursement line item."

and

"The charter school tuition rate is based on the City’s Net School Spending (NSS), which takes into account spending on BPS and Charter Schools, and deducts the Charter School Reimbursement provided by the State. When the State underfunds Boston’s reimbursement, Boston’s calculated NSS is higher than it otherwise would be, driving up Boston’s charter school tuition rate. In FY17, Boston’s assessment is $2.4 million higher than it otherwise would have been if the State had fully funded the charter school reimbursement. As the projected unfunded obligation to Boston grows under Question 2, this extra increment on the assessment would also increase."

and

"Because the Chapter 70 formula inadequately accounts for the true costs of educating students in Boston, when Boston receives Chapter 70 aid increases, they are limited to “minimum aid” increases. This has averaged $34 per student annually over the last five years, an education aid increase of 1% per year. Putting that into context, Boston’s charter school assessment could grow to an estimated $800 million by FY28 under Question 2, nearly 4 times the City’s FY17 Chapter 70 (~$216 million) revenue, with no expectation that state education aid would increase substantially."

and

"Based on a level of student growth associated with 3 new schools per year, with grade levels rolled out over time, and a consistent tuition rate increase based on a five year average, Boston could be paying $26,000 per pupil, or an $800 million assessment by FY28. To put that number in context, while today charter schools are 5% of Boston’s budget, Charter Schools could comprise almost 20% of Boston’s Budget in FY28. Under this scenario, charter schools would likely become the City’s 2nd largest expenditure by 2024. Unlike other major expenditures, such as BPS, the police and fire departments, pensions, and debt service, charter school costs would be dictated by decisions made by a state agency, and the City would have no ability to manage these costs."

But who are we going to believe? The CFO of Boston or a longtime anonymous internet gossiper?

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ill take the gossiper!

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Back after watching the prez elect on 60 minutes.

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Per my comment below, I think sock puppet and his upvoters need to settle up your bet.

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Of the mayor. The mayor said - jump - and he just said how high - and wrote that piece. Note what he did though - he made all kinds of "tree" arguments about the school budget and conveniently ignored the "forest" that is the total budget. I have no doubt that the calculations he did there are 100% accurate. They are also 100% irrelevant to their impact on the Boston School budget - which he knows full well - but telling you that would cost him his job.

Here's why:

The city doesn't give a hoot how much they get in school aid from the state - or any other aid for that matter. All - as in 100% - of the money the city gets in aid from the state gets poured into the same bucket. Then they divvy it up. BPS has received 33.9% to 36% of the city's budget for the past 15 years (in 2017 that number is 34.6% and as late as last year it was 35.5%). For the non-conspiracy minded - that's because the mayor is finally getting real that we can't spend as much of the budget on a school system that is 13% smaller than it was in 2003 and there are other priorities. For the more suspicious - they slashed the budget purposely to incite parents and kids to rise up against Sweeney's claims and fight against Question 2 (even though when the dust settled on this fiscal calamity there was magically more money, more staff, more teachers and fewer students - curiously the city didn't put out a press release on THAT!).

The answer to whether it was sound budget policy or a conspiracy against Q2 will be in how the 2018 budget comes in (after netting any reforms they actually undertake). TBD.

So here's the simple answer (and note why I said "net" at the end of my post). Let's say the state magically gave Boston $300 million instead of $200 million in education aid next year. Would they give BPS an extra $100 million? Not on your life. BPS would get whatever about 35% of the budget comes to (+/- 1%) - the state would kick in their $300 million and the city would cover the balance because there are 8500 other non-school mostly union employees who want their share of that windfall - and if tomorrow is like today - they'll get it - well 65 cents on the dollar after BPS takes their cut.

And on the expense side? It costs about $17k in public money to put a kid through a charter annually (tuition plus transportation costs). Send that kid back to BPS and they will spend north of $25k in public money annually. Every kid that leaves BPS saves the system almost $10k annually - and that's before accounting for the 6 year reimbursement program - even if it is only 2/3 funded - who cares - it's all gravy.

Net - the city actually would be in a far better position if every kid that reasonably could transferred to a charter (to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars). Why do the politicians fight this then? 4000 BPS staff, plus hundreds if not thousands of teachers that still live in the city are a lot of votes - especially when you add in their friends and family. You eliminate their jobs, you eliminate your own if you are a councilor or the mayor.

This wasn't about the kids or the money. It comes down to 14 people that want to get re-elected.* It had nothing to do with kids getting a good education or fixing BPS. Never will. It's never about the kids. It's all about the adults.

* I think Zakim may not have concurred with the mayor and the rest of the council on the Q2 issue? Note the green in the chart is most of his district

Update - Zakim and Campbell voted against the resolution to oppose Q2

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If anybody would like to understand why Boston spends more per pupil than is typical, the BPS is very open about the reasons.

Per pupil spending relative to comparison districts is 7,900 more.
-1,500 cost of living
-1,450 salaries and benefits
-2,650 student need
-750 transportation
-700 district footprint
-850 other

The actual per-pupil amount can be estimated in different ways. For example, if you take the total amount of the general fund budget (1.0135B), add the external funds amount (119.6M), and divide it by the number of students (56,650), you get 20K. That's close to the amount the Census Bureau uses as well. DESE uses a different method and estimates 18,372. Stevil's 25K figure is ... unsourced.

It's good that the pressure and massive financial loss to the city caused by charter schools have increased the pressure on BPS to investigate efficiencies. BPS needs a major restructuring, including closing of many schools and drastic reduction of the transportation system.

Some of the efficiencies will undoubtedly affect the charter students as well - such as ending all bus transportation to students above grade six, placing limits on busing distance for elementary school students, and making charters neighborhood based. The city should also push harder for charters to include special ed and ELL students at similar levels to the district, as a matter of IDEA and ADA. The district has a legal responsibility to force charter compliance with federal law re special education, and has been lax in this IMHO.

The suggestion that moving almost all BPS students to charters would reduce costs to the city is laughable. The lower cost of charter education is maintained in part by selectivity - filtering out the students with greatest need - and throwing back students they start with who prove difficult. It's not the same group of students as the general population, and doesn't cost as much.

For all these reasons, expansion of charters would show diminishing returns.

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You only add operating and external funds. You have forgotten pensions, capital expenditures, retirement benefits for 8000 plus staff. And there is zero allowance for the opportunity cost of owning the land and buildings (only operating and capital maintenance are accounted for in these budgets) You also cite the number that BPS has in their "at a glance" report (even that is reduced to 56,000 for 2017). However, curiously, they report about 3000 fewer students than that to the state every year which is the number the state uses to calculate per pupil expenditures (I've never been able to find an answer to this discrepancy - open to any response-guessing it might be METCO students which are somehow counted as in district, even though the district doesn't pay for them?). When you add on these fees and use the numbers BPS reports to the state (maybe even their numbers) - the cost of a BPS student easily exceeds $25k.

Note - your point about selectivity is why I specifically said moving kids that can move to charters - not all kids. If you JUST moved the 10,000 kids on the wait list to charters - you are looking at a savings in the neighborhood of $100 million. That's about $180 million when you add existing charter students.

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You mean saying 'like, there's lotsa stuff' counts as sourcing? MMkay. My sources are the numbers from BPS and from DESE. You have only speculations.

I am amused by your theory that retirement benefits for ex-BPS teachers disappear when current students move to charters. Magic is a great basis for accounting, no?

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a) If you know where to look you can extract or extrapolate this information from the budget. I can only approximate the numbers (capital funding is in there - teacher's pensions were removed in 2009, staff pensions and retirement bennies are bundled in other numbers). I've asked the city for the exact figures - to date they won't provide them.

b) There's this thing called accrual accounting - yes you pay for the employee that retires today. But if you reduce that staff over time - you eventually reap that savings as you reduce future liabilities. Coupled with NPV, fascinating topic.

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The state is supposed to reimburse BPS a certain amount for each kid who leaves for a charter. The state is no longer paying Boston what it's supposed to. I forget the exact amount the city has lost over the past few years, but the number 47 million sticks in my mind (apologies if it's a different sum, but it's up there).

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The state has limited funds. Let's say they decided to make good on that $47 million (or whatever). Then they just cut it out of some other kind of aid because there is only so much for cities and towns. In the end BPS gets 35% of the revenue - so if they gave them $47 million in ed aid - and $47 million less in other aid - BPS still ends up with EXACTLY the same amount of money.

This is the problem - all these formulas etc. are EXTREMELY complicated. But in the end it's just accounting which is completely different from budgeting. 100% only divides up so many ways. As I said above - Sweeney knows that as does everyone in a senior position in city hall counting beans. They just can't tell you that or they'll be looking for a job because their bosses (the mayor and councilors) don't want to be the ones looking for a job.

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I think I'll still go with competent, non-anonymous professionals.

I guess Moody's is in on the conspiracy too?

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I'll fill you in on Moody's concerns.

They are concerned with politicians being politicians and said exactly that in their analysis. As you see from above BPS spends 35 cents of every city dollar of revenue. For now, thanks mostly to amazing growth in tax revenue, the city has mostly been able to absorb this by cutting other departments (with the general exception of police and fire).

Moody's concern is that these steps have run their course and to continue paying for expanded charters AND BPS at the same levels they will need to start doing fiscally imprudent things. The concept of charter expansion is that as you add students to charters and subtract from BPS you should be able to reap savings in BPS. However, the evidence is that Walsh and Menino before him don't/didn't have the political cajones to stand up to the teacher's union and thousands of school staff. Moody's isn't making a financial statement. They are saying the politics stands in the way of good fiscal policy.

I'll be happy to shed my anonymity any time Walsh or Sweeney want to take me on in a public forum. They won't do it because they don't want the broader public to know/understand how this works.

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You seem to think that throwing anonymous insults at people online is discrediting them.

No, all you've done is insulted him, like any random crank can do to a public figure. In reality, he's still far more credible than you are.

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Showing with easily verifiable facts that a public official deliberately wrote an inaccurate hit piece on a public policy his boss didn't like isn't "throwing anonymous insults". It shows that he was engaging in spin to sway public policy from inconvenient facts his boss doesn't want the public to know.

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i dont know if megan is really from dot

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Acknowledged:
* The NO side ran a great campaign -- it's hard to argue with 62% of the votes (but, times change ...).
* I don't live in Boston -- but Q2 was a state-wide question, and there's a lot of state aid to schools in many districts.

In terms of time:
* Charter schools were implement 23 years ago, because (in the judgment of Gov. Weld and the Legislature) many schools had been sub-par for too long THEN (TWENTY THREE years ago)
* This vote will give Tommy Chang (a good guy, who is trying) more time. The question is: How much time?

Current Situation (state DESE statistics):
* High performing schools: Boston charters 53%; Boston Public Schools 20%
* Mid-performing schools: Boston charters 47%; Boston Public Schools 24%
* Low-performing schools: Boston charters 0%; Boston Public Schools 44%
* Under performing schools: Boston charters 0%; Boston Public Schools 10%

Over half of BPS are low/under performing.
No Boston charter schools are low/under performing.

That's not acceptable.

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I could be wrong, but, AFIAK, under performing charters are basically just shut down (a few have been at least over the last few years). Public schools cannot be just closed due to performance.

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The state has done this.

Why do you think Mattahunt is being "reconfigured"? To prevent state takeover/shut down.

Shutdown is a final option with public schools. Receivership happens first, where a school or school system is taken over by the state for a time and the administration is reconfigured and the school committee (or other management entity) is removed from control. Closing a public school may not be an option in small communities which may not have other schools. I believe that Southbridge is in this sort of situation right now - closing their schools isn't an option and their school committee was the biggest problem.

http://www.mass.gov/edu/government/departments-and-boards/ese/programs/a...

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Level 5, aka Lowest Performing according 2016 DESE Accountability data.

There are probably others as well but they will close when they don't perform. I think Dorchester Collegiate Academy closed for this reason.

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to Mass voters and Boston voters for seeing through the BS put forth by DFER aka Great Schools.

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The funding is not clear at all. the fact that Moody's was stating that they were going to downgrade Boston's credit rating led me to believe that new bonds (new debt) would have to be issued. so then that must mean that eventually Boston would have to raise taxes to pay for the bonds. I thought it was implied by the PRO question 2 folks that this would not be the case. so which one is it?

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A handful of decent schools in Boston, the rest a disaster. Keep voting against change. Hopefully President-elect Trump will appoint a Secretary of Education that can help.

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Think he's up for the job? It's not brain surgery.

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Are you talking about Dr Ben for Secretary of Education? Isn't he the one who thinks the pyramids were built to store grain?

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He also believes in creationism. Imagine if he was in charge of the department of education. Good lord!
https://www.google.com/amp/www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/ben-carsons-...

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He's the top contender right now. For reals.

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No Child Left Behind II: Picking Up The Children We Left Behind

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Trump only picks up children if they're 10s.

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Trump has said several times during the campaign that the Department of Education should be abolished.

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Governor Baker tried really hard to paint this as nervous suburban voters voting against the interests of the poor urban families. "You take it for granted your kids go to great schools..."

But looking at this map as well as the state map, the only towns within 495 that voted YES were:

Dover, Weston, Sherborn, Wellesley, Lincoln, Cohasset, and Manchester

Not quite the impoverished outcry we were sold, Governor.

For many of us Tuesday was a night of shock and dismay, but the Q2 results were a glimmer of good news.

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Can you include a link to the table from which this map was extracted? Thanks.

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