Part 3 Those Facilitating Minuteman’s Over Assessments

Part 3 of 3 Those Facilitating Minuteman’s Over Assessments

   Minuteman Regional High School’s unnecessarily large and underfunded nonmember tuition enrollment requires subsidies that are passed on and paid for by its 16 member towns.  Payments are derived through increased assessments by exploiting a broken budgeting process.

   The last 5 annual Minuteman budgets have been prepared and presented to the school committee solely by the Minuteman superintendent and the Minuteman assistant superintendent for finance who was the Minuteman Treasurer hired then with the same fiduciary responsibility to insure the integrity of school finances.  Both officers have a legal responsibility to present an accurate and complete annual budget. 

   Lacking in depth municipal accounting expertise or managerial review by a Certified Public Accountant, the Minuteman finance subcommittee repeatedly recommended the school committee approve the administration’s annual budgets while ignoring suggestions to utilize surplus tuition revenue to reduce expenditures, or to reduce excessive non-educational expenditures. 

The chair of the finance subcommittee has endorsed unjustified Level Service budget increases of 5% to 6% annually needed to fund increased Administration overhead (up 64%) and an ever increasing nonmember tuition enrollment (up 44%).  The school committee willingly accepted the guidance of the administration and school officers and passed each of the administration’s flawed budgets unchanged and unchallenged.  

These officers have included the school committee in their folies à tois.  The folly is the construction of the largest school possible regardless of the cost for the benefit of a privileged few. They justify a larger school based on enrolling as many money losing nonmember tuition students the superintendent can accept and overcrowd Minuteman’s classrooms and labs.  This is all done to artificially retain MSBA funding and retain Department of Elementary and Secondary Education approval by subsidizing 368 nonmember tuition students with member town tax dollars.

This folly annually costs Sudbury the equivalent of a Lincoln-Sudbury teacher driving each day to Minuteman each day of the school year to educate 11 (eleven) nonmember students from Boston, Medford, Watertown, Waltham and 30 other municipalities. 

Minuteman member towns must now request that the MA Inspector General along with an independent third party forensic accountant review all Minuteman accounts including the use of off-budget revolving accounts.  In this way, the school may be able to salvage the public’s trust.  If an administration and school committee cannot manage its annual budget, how can it be relied upon to manage a $130 million capital project?

“In people’s lives and in social history there is always a first mistake, a little mistake which happen almost imperceptivity, a momentary slip-up, but this first mistake creates others, and these mistakes follow each other, accumulating little by little, one on top of the other.  Eventually this creates a fateful error.

Joseba Sarrionaindia,  Ni ez naiz hemengoa

(I Am not from Here), 1985


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