State regulation, in Reality, Crazy Massachusetts permits local faculties, along with close by vocational-technical colleges, to installation a Stabilization Fund for capital initiatives. The governing statute is Massachusetts General Laws c. Seventy-one, §sixteen G½.
Not all local colleges have attempted to create this sort of Stabilization Fund. This article is written to help those who choose to strive.
From my revel in, the method is straightforward; however, it also can be long and aggravating.
Here are the fundamental steps to observe:
1. Educate Yourself. Read the regulation. Talk to others who have long passed through the technique. Ask questions. Contact me. Reach out to your professional association. The Massachusetts Association of Regional Schools (MARS) and Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators (MAVA) are tremendous sources. Talk together along with your School Business Manager to ensure the 2 of you’re united on this. It would help if you marched together. Make positive that everybody is privy to the very start, that it isn’t always easy to apply cash from the Stabilization Fund. Any cash located into the type of Stabilization Fund can also need only to be used for capital initiatives and will be utilized by a vote of two-thirds of the local School Committee. It isn’t a piggy financial institution to be opened at will thru the School Business Manager or Superintendent
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2. Educate Your School Committee. If you’ve got a Finance or Budget Subcommittee, that is probably the first-rate place to begin. Talk with the Subcommittee chair first to ensure there may be the least standard useful resource for the idea. Then supply it to the entire Subcommittee. Make a presentation. Let them ask questions until they cannot think about it anymore. (The questions are the identical ones you may pay interest from town and town officials later.) Once you’ve got robust consensus at the Subcommittee, ask that corporation to recommend the complete School Committee.
Three. Seek a Vote from Your School Committee. Once you’ve got a guide from the Subcommittee that handles coins topics, located the Agenda object for the complete School Committee. In the assembly package deal, embody a memo outlining the motives why you’re in search of establishing a Stabilization Fund. In the memo, address any predominant issues that have been raised at the Subcommittee level. Remember that it’s far incredibly probable that your memo will discover its manner into the arms of Mayors and Selectmen to your district. Make effective its miles strictly real. Make positive all later correspondence to your member communities makes use of the identical or very comparable language.
Four. Notify Your Member Communities of the Vote. After your School Committee takes a vote to set up a Stabilization Fund, the laugh is simply starting. Now you want to mobilize assist in a majority of your member groups. If you have got 9 member organizations, you want superb votes from 5 of them. If you’ve got 18 member organizations as I did, you want an effective vote from 10 of them. The first step is to inform the Boards of Selectmen and City Councils on your district of your School Committee’s vote. Make nice Mayors and Town Managers are notified, too.
Here’s a part of the letter we sent to our 18 member corporations:
“On January 2, 2013, the District School Committee at Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School voted to set up a Stabilization Fund in line with the provisions of Massachusetts General Laws c. Seventy-one, §16 G½. The law calls for that district groups to be notified and vote to approve the motion with the School Committee’s useful resource.
The Monty Tech School Committee requests that an editorial is located on an upcoming Town Meeting Warrant/City Council Agenda in search of approval to installation the Stabilization Fund.
We recommend the following wording:
That the Town/City of ______________vote to approve the popularity quo of a Stabilization Fund consistent with Massachusetts General Laws c.Seventy-one, §sixteen G½ for the Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School District.
Five. Educate Your Member Communities. Use the letter to member groups as an opportunity to offer a reason for why you are making your request.
We brought this:
“Stabilization Funds are commonplace inside the route of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and inside the towns and towns at some stage in our vicinity. Most, if not all, of our 18 district agencies have carried out Stabilization Funds for decades.
Monty Tech wishes to set up a Stabilization Fund to assist deal with its many capital desires. As you could realize, the district maintains and often updates a Five-Year Capital Plan, which identifies our faculty district’s predominant structural and system desires. While we do our very awesome to hold school facilities and devices updated and stretch every greenback via college and pupil exertions, we have determined that the charge variety allotted for capital tasks in our annual price range isn’t sufficient to meet the district’s wishes.
We accept as actual with that putting in a Stabilization Fund is fiscally prudent.”
6. Expect Questions, Rejection, and Delays. The school district is crafted from 18 member businesses, which include two cities and 16 cities. In many of the groups, we were invited to speak to the Board of Selectmen, Finance Committee, Financial Advisory Board, or City Council. In others, we heard not anything. In the one’s times, I bet our letter explaining the Stabilization Fund changed into enough. The elected officers within the one’s communities sincerely voted to vicinity the Town Meeting Warrant problem. In 5 of the Towns, however, no longer whatever took place the least bit. They either intentionally left the matter of the Town Meeting Warrant – or in reality, forgot to position it on. We entertained a long collection of questions in one community, and I located up with a letter, further clarifying our characteristic.
7. Expect Some Unfair Questions and Comments. During our meetings, we heard severa unfair questions, some of which seemed designed virtually to get us disappointed. They by no means did. But you want to be prepared. The period of this text prevents me from going into the splendid element. Still, the questions fell into five most crucial training: the functionality duration of the Stabilization Fund, concerns about unmet capital desires at municipal college districts, claims that approving a Stabilization Fund would possibly robotically bring about multiplied exams to member communities, guidelines that a Stabilization Fund is something “new” or “unique,” and claims that the vocational college seemed so appropriate it failed to want any capital enhancements. Finally, we heard the extraordinarily unfair and inflammatory word “slush fund” tossed around greater than as soon as. Be organized to cope with those issues. By reading the regulation and noting the extreme obstacles located on using a Stabilization Fund, you ought to be organized.
8. Don’t Give Up. When we commenced the Monty Tech approval method, the first actual vote from a community turned into a rejection. To make topics worse, the vote grows to be unanimous. And it became from our 2nd biggest network. The Budget Subcommittee Chair and School Business Manager took the defeat badly. I became dissatisfied with a direction but knew that we had 17 exceptional possibilities to get 10 votes in our preference. We confirmed up for a Town Meeting on a Saturday morning to discover that the Finance Committee had voted no longer to consultant approval in every other network. Again, I was disappointed, however, not defeated. When allowed to speak to Town Meeting, I thanked the townspeople for helping our school and reminded them that their Town had a Stabilization Fund. Their municipal faculty district had the chance to tap from time to time. We didn’t. In the stop, Town Meeting voted solidly in our preference over the city’s Finance Committee’s objections.
9. Celebrate Your Success. In our case, the School Committee voted 17-1 to set up a Stabilization Fund. That vote happened on January 2, 2013. Our 9th and 10th incredible votes from member groups were secured – separated in time by just or three mins on the night of June 18, 2013. We did now not exactly pop open any champagne. However, we did congratulate each other on accomplishing the fulfillment. We observed it as another small step to enhance our capability to respond quickly to small- or medium-duration capital desires in our college. It’s a small step that you, too, can take with some planning and some paintings.
10. Spread the News and Help Others. Though no longer required through the use of the statute, we notified the Massachusetts Department of Revenue and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education of the vote focused on the aid of our School Committee and the names of the ten groups that supported us, and the dates they cast those votes. Moreover, I testified in Boston on an invoice that could simplify the manner Stabilization Funds are created and spoke back questions from one or other districts looking to install a Stabilization Fund.
Steven C. Sharek is a veteran school administrator. He has served as an Assistant Dean of Academic Services at Southern New England School of Law (now UMass School of Law – Dartmouth), as a Superintendent-Director at Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical School, and as a Cluster Coordinator and Communications/Grants Manager at Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School. He holds a B.A. In English, Master in Education, and Juris Doctor. He has been an energetic member of the Massachusetts Association of Vocational Administrators (MAVA).