Saturday, March 24, 2018

The following was prepared by a Templeton Town resident, took much time and effort to complete. His report as well as a letter to the editor was accomplished by looking at town reports, town meeting results and financial paperwork from the school district as well as information from DESE (department of elementary and secondary education)

Perhaps M. Hughes was not aware of this information as she spoke of Templeton being under effort in it's support of schools. Remember, it is Templeton who stood alone and put up the 47 million dollars so the district can have a new building for some elementary kids.
There are two towns in the school district, one said no and the other said yes, that again, would be Templeton.

Perhaps this posting will make for an awkward moment or two at a school committee meeting, I do not know, nor do I care. I care about the residents of Templeton being told they do not support something or they have been under effort, when that is simply not true.
Perhaps that under effort statement can be corrected at the next meeting of the school committee?


On April 2nd The Gardner News published an article titled “Assessment Challenge Withdrawn” which contained a number of statements by Superintendent Miller regarding Templeton’s Local Contributions to school expenses.

She was quoted as saying that Templeton was “under effort” for education funding last year by nearly $ 800,000, when in fact we were nearly $ 800,000 over the “effort” level.  She was also quoted as saying, “The reason that Templeton’s increase is higher … is that they’ve  been under effort for a few years,” when, in fact, the last five years the town of Templeton has funded education not only above the Minimum Required Local Contribution level but, above the Target (effort) level by an average of 10 percent.

Each year the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) calculates a number of values for towns to follow while supporting their school systems.  These calculations can be very complicated and confusing to the general public.  When discussing these numbers it is important that you understand which value you are talking about.   Each year DESE calculates a town’s - Maximum Local Contribution (MLC), Target LC, Preliminary LC, and Required LC.   Two of these values are important; these are the Target LC and Required LC.   To simplify this issue you need to know that the Target LC is sometimes referred to as the Effort Level and the Required LC is often called the Minimum Required Contribution.   A more complete and technical definition of these terms may be found under: 


The Minimum Required LC is that number that a town should never fund below.  It is the absolute minimum local contribution that can be budgeted by a town for its school system.  In this case, the Required LC includes two numbers, Templeton’s share of Narragansett Regional School District (NRSD) costs and our share of Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School (MRVTS) costs.

The much higher, Target LC is that number that DESE encourages towns to contribute.

The first comment made in the April 2nd article was that Templeton’s required contributions increased recently because “… the town has been chronically ‘under effort” according to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education…”   This statement is not true.  The TGN article went on to quote Ms. Miller as saying, “the town was under effort by about $800,000 in the last fiscal year.”   The last fiscal year was FY14.


                                                                                                                        page 1 of 2

April 5, 2015                                                                                                   page 2 of 2

Templeton’s Education Contributions,  Rev 2   (continued)


Revision 2 changes are bolded in red.

I believe Ms. Miller may have been misquoted, because this is not true.  Actually, the 800,000 difference had nothing to do with the town actually being “under effort” or below Target.  It was simply the difference between DESE’s Target figure and Required Contribution figure on a calculation sheet for FY14 that was “about $800,000”.   

( FY14’s Target [effort] 4,963,418 minus FY14’s Required 4,170,850 = 792,568 )


Again, the above “$800,000” difference had nothing to do with Templeton’s actual contribution for FY14.  In fact, the town was not only well above the Minimum Required LC but,  was significantly higher  than the Target LC.   Templeton’s  actual contribution (as related to the DESE requirements) was $5,582,130.    (ATM Art 27, voted $4,430,615 plus an override Oct STM Art 1 of $550,459 plus ATM Art 20 for Monty Tech of $601,056 = $5,582,130).   


With a Target LC of 4,963,418 and actual payments of 5,582,130 Templeton was actually over the Target (effort) Local Contribution amount by 618,712.   (12.5%)

Also, for this year (FY15) we will be $ 720,880 over Target Local Contribution.   (14.4%)

All of the data supporting these conclusions are a matter of public record and may be found on the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s website and on the Town of Templeton’s website.


I have spoken with DESE’s and Narragansett school officials and been assured that my “numbers are all good.”  However, because the preceding figures can be confusing to some, I have been asked to emphasis, in this letter, the following:  Although Templeton has contributed a five year average of 10.0 percent over Target and 34percent over Minimum Required LC, a good part of this support is due to three overrides during FY 12, 13 & 14.    If you take override support out of the picture, then these percentages drop to an average of 3.8 percent over Target and 26.7 percent over Minimum Required Contributions. 

 It is understood that this letter was submitted to The Gardner News in early April and
so far, the letter has not been published
from the meals tax propaganda / information on Town Website.

Would this be enough to cover our equipment needs? No but it’s a start. Meals tax revenues would be used to pay for three-year leases on a one-ton and cruiser. One-Ton Dump Truck With Plow & Wing.

Is leasing smart when you have money on the table - certified free cash, that could be used to pay for these items outright, as in no future worry about having the sum of taxpayer money available to cover the lease, whether or not you have a bow out clause or not in the lease arrangement.

With a three year ease (or any length) you have to have those funds available each year, what if something comes up, shortfall for fire department, or for school funding and every dollar counts.

When you have $160,000.00 of "cash" on hand, is it smarter to use 40 thousand to buy outright a new police cruiser or accept a three year promissory note that now has to be funded for three years and what if there is a year of low revenue from meals tax? More scramble, more crisis management.

Why create more future revenue problems when you have the means to avoid that. More bad management policies and decisions? The Templeton light and water commissioners do not wish to "give" the town money, rather they wish to fund a specific project, because they do not trust the town (selectmen) to spend the money wisely. Why should taxpayers be different. You have the cash, spend some on a new cruiser and put the rest in savings, where Town meeting can decide whether to spend it or not. Why let that cash roll over until next year? Plans for it to cover shortfalls in fiscal year 2019 spending plan?
Please be there:

Big meeting to discuss use of town common
TEMPLETON  There will be what could be a contentious meeting on Monday, March 26, as residents plan to fight for the right to use the town common for the Mac N Cheese Festival and other large events, an option that selectmen ruled against at the last meeting.

Suddenly, there is a big liability for the Town, in case something happens with any event held on Town owned land, such as the Mac N Cheese festival in support of the Friends of Templeton elders. This could get interesting and it is a meeting residents should attend. 
New day - same problem; Using one time revenue to balance a spending plan.
As the current chairman of the board of selectmen continues to state;
"Past bad management decisions, poor leadership . . ."

Current leadership has a financial policy in place, not being followed by current management.
One time funds being used to fund ongoing expenses.
Proposing things where there is not enough existing funds to cover those expenses.
It appears the pea under one of the three cups practice is still in effect.
It appears another circle has been completed - back to the starting point;
More "crisis management" so to speak.

ARTICLE 18. FY 2018 OPERATING BUDGET To see if the Town will vote to appropriate the sum of Eight Million Two Hundred Seventy Seven Thousand Three Hundred and Eighteen Dollars and no cents ($8,277,318.00) for the operations of General Government for Fiscal Year 2018, and to meet said appropriation with a transfer of Forty Nine Thousand and Three Hundred Fourteen Dollars and no cents ($49,314.00) of unissued bond proceeds originally borrowed for 252 Baldwinville Road, a transfer of Two Hundred and Twenty Five Thousand Dollars and no cents ($225,000.00) from the Ambulance receipts reserved for appropriation, and the balance from taxation, or take any other action relative thereto.

 Submitted by the Board of Selectmen

On a motion duly made and seconded the town voted that the Town appropriate the sum of Eight Million Two Hundred Seventy Seven Thousand Three Hundred Eighteen Dollars and no cents ($8,277,318.00) for the operations of General Government for Fiscal Year 2018 and to meet said appropriation with a transfer of Forty Nine Thousand Three Hundred Fourteen Dollars and no cents ($49,314.00) of unissued bond proceeds originally borrowed for 252 Baldwinville Road, a transfer of Two Hundred Twenty Five Thousand Dollars and no cents ($225,000.00) from the Ambulance Receipts Reserved for Appropriation, and the balance from the FY 18 tax levy and other general revenues of the Town.

Article 4: Completing the FY 2018 Planned Revenue Transfer To see if the Town will vote to transfer the sum of One Hundred Thousand Dollars and No Cents ($100,000.00) from the Ambulance Receipts Reserved for Appropriation, as planned in presenting the FY 2018 general fund budget to the Annual Town Meeting, to support the FY 2018 General Fund Operating Budget, or take any other action related thereto.
Submitted by the Board of Selectmen
Majority Vote Required

On a motion duly made and seconded the town voted to transfer the sum of One Hundred Thousand Dollars and No Cents ($100,000.00) from the Ambulance Receipts Reserved for Appropriation account, to support the FY 2018 General Fund Operating Budget,
Passed Unanimously/November 14th @ 7:28 pm

Article 5: FY 2018 Operating Budget Back fill.  To see if the Town will vote to appropriate the sum of Thirty Thousand Dollars and No Cents ($30,000.00) to supplement the amounts appropriated in the FY 2018 Operating Budget as follows: Dept. Amount DPW - B & G $2,500 DPW - Highway $5,000 Fire & EMS $15,000 Treasurer/Collector $7,500 And to meet said appropriation by a transfer of said sum from free cash, or take any other action related thereto.

Submitted by the Board of Selectmen Majority Vote Required

BOSTON - Lawmakers’ decision to award themselves pay raises earlier this year was an unpopular move with around three quarters of the electorate, according to a poll sponsored by a conservative group that argues the pay hike could imperil progressives’ push for a tax hike next year.
The pay raise law, approved over Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto, increased the compensation of the speaker and the Senate president from about $97,000 to $142,000 while other lawmakers’ pay increased by lesser but still substantial amounts depending on their leadership positions or committee chairmanships.
Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, a group that has rankled Democrats since its founding five years ago, calculated that the average pay raise was 40 percent. Except for top leadership positions, lawmakers holding only one stipend-eligible position saw their pay rise by less than 40 percent, and backbenchers received only an increase in their expense accounts.
Thirty percent of voters said they would be “much less likely” to support someone at the polls who voted for his or her own 40 percent pay raise, and another 43.6 percent said they would be “less likely,” according to the survey conducted by Virginia-based Advantage, Inc.
The poll that was publicized Wednesday found 8.8 percent of voters would be more likely to support a politician who voted for their own 40 percent raise. The increase in lawmakers’ expense accounts, another provision of the pay raise law, was even less popular, according to the poll.
Jim Eltringham, vice president at Advantage, Inc., said the poll of 500 registered voters conducted in mid-June was modeled to resemble the electorate in 2018. The margin of error was 4.4 percent.
According to the survey, two thirds of voters were very or somewhat aware of the pay raise vote, which was lawmakers’ first major agenda item this year.
No Republicans supported the pay raise bill and nine House Democrats and three Senate Democrats opposed the measure, which passed overwhelmingly in both branches.
Paul Craney, spokesman for Mass Fiscal, said the poll also showed that Democrats who voted for the pay raise bill created some challenges for the Democrat-led push to add a 4 percent surtax onto incomes over $1 million. Mass Fiscal opposes that tax.
In back-to-back sessions about 70 percent of the House and Senate voted to advance the ballot question to amend the constitution with a surtax that proponents say could generate $2 billion for transportation and education. Unless it is blocked by the courts, the question will appear on the 2018 ballot.
Good afternoon Mr.Bennett,

Thank you for contacting Representative Whipps with your concerns. First I would like to address the voting age bill. This was a town meeting vote that once passed, it required the Representative to file it as a Home Rule Petition.  The purpose of the Home Rule is to “grant and confirm to the people of every city and town the right of self-governance in local matters." 

Representative Whipps has asked me to share with you a letter she recently signed, along with the other members of the Regional Schools Caucus. It requests that the Committee on Ways and Means increase the funding for Regional School Transportation reimbursement in the Fiscal Year 2019 state budget. 

Please do not hesitate to contact this office with any questions or if you would like to discuss it further.

Missi Eaton
Office of State Representative Susannah Whipps 
State House Rm.540
2nd Franklin District
352 Main St.
Athol Ma. 01331

From: jeff bennett []
Sent: Friday, March 23, 2018 10:30 AM
To: Eaton, Melissa (HOU)
Subject: transportation funding

My name is Jeffrey Bennett, from Templeton, Ma. I am a member of the Templeton Advisory Committee. I am writing as a resident with a concern of broken promise from the state government. The promise to fully fund transportation costs of regional school districts, which has not happened in a long time, if ever. While looking at fiscal year 2019 state budget proposals, state representatives and senators web sites, face book, etc to try and get a feel on where things may be going, I noticed Ms. Lee has sponsored a bill, that was most likely a local community request, to allow sixteen year olds to vote locally. That is how it is worded at least on the website of Whipps Lee. I am perplexed by that, however, I am more concerned with the funding issue of regional school districts. I would like to see a bill or change/increase to regional school transportation. I mean before get 16 year old citizens into politics and voting, even before they can smoke, drink, enlist in the military, we should get them to school. You may not have been around when the original promise was made, but you are there now and this needs to be corrected, by way of fully funding, by way of appropriation from state government. When that does not happen, it is a failure of state elected representatives (house and senate). Failure to do this puts districts against towns and sometimes, towns against towns. All those involved seem to know and agree that the state is falling short on it's promise, so why is it not being funded at 100 percent level?

Jeff Bennett
Thank you, we do understand the issue and hear about it often. We do our best to fund RSD transportation at as high a level as possible.

Tyler L. Wolanin
District Director, Office of Senator Anne M. Gobi

From: jeff bennett []
Sent: Friday, March 23, 2018 10:07 AM
To: Wolanin, Tyler (SEN)
Subject: Re: funding
Thank you for the quick reply, however, the promise made in years gone by, 1949 or so, still need to be met, by the correct appropriation. I look forward to the senate budget proposals, specifically, the transportation dollar figure.  That appropriation or lack there of, has meaning that is far reaching, such as taking money from other municipal projects such as road repair, fire and police coverage that affects not only the immediate residents, but those who may be in the process of looking for a community to move to. That can lead to new growth, or not, which has even more impact on the driver; property taxes. Anything less than 100 percent transportation funding by the state is unacceptable and should be viewed by taxpayers/voters as a failure by elected state representation.

Jeff Bennett

Again, thank you for your timely response.