Hopedale creates position paper regarding BVT financial impact and structure
By Theresa Knapp
The Hopedale Select Board has created a position paper related to how Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School sets its budget and presents that budget to member towns.
Traditionally, BVT presents its budget to its 13 member towns who have no influence over the total amount. It is, in fact, an invoice they must pay in full, and often presents an annual problem for an often cash-strapped Hopedale.
In October, Hopedale town officials called a meeting of all BVT member towns to discuss the issues surrounding the BVT model and finances. [Find that full story at bit.ly/HopedaleBVTsummit]
The December seven-point memo, which will be circulated publicly, captures Hopedale’s concerns. BVT should:
Adopt policies that lead to their student body mirroring the communities they serve;
Cap student attendance at 15% of any given student body cohort;
Present a detailed capital plan and establish a stabilization fund to pay for and plan for capital improvements;
Present its annual budget to member communities as a singular group, not at individual town meetings as is the current practice;
Cap annual school budget at the mean budgetary increase (or decrease) of respective individual municipal high schools, excluding the singular lowest and highest outlier values;
Provide all information pertaining to capital improvements that trigger procurement regulations; and
Be aware the Town of Hopedale advocates for a change in the charter that would require 75% of member communities to vote for material changes, instead of the current requirement of 100% support.
Read the full memo at bit.ly/HopedaleBVTmemo
At the same meeting, Ruscitti noted that BVT representatives have told him they will not have a completed budget until March. That news was not well received by Hopedale town officials since the town’s annual town meeting – at which it must approve the next year’s budget – follows soon after in May. BVT’s March presentation of a must-pay invoice could leave Hopedale scrambling to make adjustments within its own budget which it does control.
To see Hopedale’s “BVT Position Paper,” visit www.hopedale-ma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif711/f/agendas/packet_1-8-24_meeting.pdf