All they have to do is get 61 people to buy a million cupcakes each

Bake sale on City Hall Plaza to raise funds for schools

A group of parents will protest cuts at Boston public schools next week by holding an old-fashioned bake sale outside City Hall.

"Gosh darn it, let's give the Mayor, City and State a hand!" reads the flyer for the bake sale, 4-6 p.m. on Tuesday.



Free tagging: 


April Fools?

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April Fools?

I can't tell if this is a AF joke or not? Cuz I know it's been done before (but more of a joke) in front of the state house.

You can also try to get one

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You can also try to get one million people to buy a cupcake at $61 a pop. I don t know which is more impossible.

Do you

have any idea how many cupcakes a shit faced late night T rider can eat? You may do $120 mil.


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Waiting for Stevil to weigh in on how these cupcakes are all just going to be eaten by anonymous BPS administrators anyways...

Bake sale

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Still my favorite bumper sticker seen when growing up:

It will be a great day when our schools have all the money they need, and our air force has to have a bake-sale to buy a bomber.

The internet says the quote comes from Robert Fulghum but I can't find a source for it.

Those that turn all their

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Those that turn all their swords into plowshares usually wind up farming involuntarily for those which didn't.

More accurate bumper sticker

Это будет великий день, когда американские школы есть все деньги, необходимые, и американский военно-воздушные силы должен иметь испечь-продажа купить бомбардировщик.

Yes, yes

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В Советской России, 1980-е призывает вас!

Gosh darn it!

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I think we should all get out there and help them.

Because then we could spend the money on adult education and teach these people some remedial math.

In 2013 we gave the schools an extra $50 million - and it wasn't enough
So in 2014 we gave them another $56 million - and it still wasn't enough
So in 2015 we offer to give them another $40 million and it still just isn't enough

(and what have we done with this money as it is?)

Oh yeah - and that's for a school district that's 2% SMALLER (and sounds like it will be even smaller next year)

Apparently they need a 10% increase. Just to do what they did last year. For a school district that is shrinking (well, fewer students, not staff)

Maybe we should get over there - and protect the inventory. These people are starting to behave like pigs at the trough.

Curious - no government has $61 million just laying around. What would they suggest we CUT to pay for this? Cops? Firemen? The entire rest of the operating budget is only about $650 million - 10% cut across the board for everyone else?

Wahhh wahhh wahhh

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Its all my money ME ME MEEEEEEE

Somebody sure likes his fellow citizens to be undereducated ... make it easier for him to get away with his smug superiority trip.

Let me guess

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You're representing the undereducated here?

Where's the money specifically going to come from? I see where Stevil lays out his thoughts on this- what's your counterpoint?

2 cents

I feel like this conversation is going South. But here is my two cents. First of all, citizens are free to petition for services. It's not really our job to balance the city's budget. But that being said, I did call into a WBUR(?) show when the mayor was on. I suggested taking a look at the Payment in Lieu of Taxes program because the non profits are getting away with paying so little to the city of Boston. That could be a way to get more resources into the city. I didn't get the impression that the mayor was terribly interested in that approach.

The city is the 2nd largest

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The city is the 2nd largest employer within the city. Maybe that has something to do with the budgetary issues.

Do you have any idea how much city/state property there is within Boston which doesn't generate revenue?

Not on the city's payroll

I'm not on the city's payroll. And I haven't been hired to figure out what's going on with their budget. I feel strongly that Marty Walsh signed up for that job when he won the election.


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I agree it's not our 'job' as resident to solve the budget, but I think it's also valid to request more accountability from our representative government as to why there is a budget issue. If they were to just come up with $61m by taking money from other areas which require funding like pensions or infrastructure maintenance or any of a hundred other things, that's not solving anything, just shuffling the deck chairs.

I really hope Marty Walsh isn't a hack. We'll see.

I don't disagree with your

I don't disagree with your statement at all. I have been going to the school committee meetings and budget hearings. I feel like the *only* people asking the tough questions are the parents. I say this knowing I could be wrong. Maybe the city council or the mayor's office, or someone is holding BPS accountable. I haven't seen much coverage of this in the media either. So I have my doubts.


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I haven't been able to attend any meetings - is the issue of how the budget is being consumed being raised, like Stevil's various posts, or is it mostly just parents requesting that BPS doesn't cut services? I'd be interested to know what they say to specific inquiries like this if they are being asked. It's one thing to say 'gee, we're sorry we're cutting the nurses' hours at your school' and another to have to explain the salary increase vs. headcount decrease stuff.

We've been questioning them

We've been questioning them about the enrollment projections, the assignment process, and how resources (including Chapter 70 aid) are allocated. Honestly, the school committee doesn't really say anything.

Re: Meetings

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All BSC meetings, Supt search committee etc are online here:

Parents and advocates have asked all the right questions, given solutions, and demanded transparent answers.

Stevil - you must have missed the whole fact that state and federal funding cuts, combined with rising pay & benefit agreements under the newest teacher contract led to a loss of about $91M more than prior years. Yes, each year the Mayor has swooped in and "saved" BPS by adding more funds - but usually only enough to cover PART of the budget cuts. So far, Mayor Walsh has only added $35.9M which will not cover the enormous losses we are being hit with in BPS. So we are now, due to other costs factored into the final budget approved by BSC, still left with $61M deficit.

I will gladly give up a Tuesday afternoon and evening to hawk baked goods to help my daughters' public schools, they have helped me to educate my children and anyone who was at the Supt Search hearing at the Irving can tell you that BPS, via the Mozart & Irving, has done VERY well in helping my youngest become an amazing public speaker - at 12 years old.

Tell ya what

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How about instead of a stupid PR stunt bake sale we have a public debate.

Hell - you can even have John McDonough debate for your side if you can get him to show.

And, yet

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You claim that their voluntary payments are not enough.

When talking about budget numbers, it is best to understand them, no? To form opinions based on facts and not just "well, I think we should push the cities biggest employers for more because I don't think they pay enough voluntarily, even though I have no idea what they pay".

A little over half

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Have heard about 56% - but keep in mind some non-profits truly need this break to survive. Then there are government buildings and churches that have a constitutional argument against paying property taxes. Hospitals, museums - with the exception of a few administrative salaries, not really a load of extra "profit" from operations there to pay for taxes.

Pretty much leaves the schools - who have kicked in a fair amount extra (PILOT has doubled in the past 10 years and I think mostly from the colleges) and could probably do more - but we are talking about a one time hit that might increase the budget by 2% or so and they could just stop any time they want - so not a particularly stable form of income.

Curious - who's a bigger employer than the city in Boston?

that's an industry

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Not an employer. BU is an employer. Northeastern, Harvard etc.

Education is not.

I believe MGH is the largest employer in the city AFTER the city.

Religious organizations

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Religious organizations should definifitly start paying some PILOT funds, they have major land holdings in Boston and some, like the catholic church, are literally swimming in gold. Take a trip to Vatican city to see for yourself. Also, state roads and highways and Massport land should be taxed.

The riches of the vatican

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The riches of the vatican have nothing to do with the corner church you see.
Well, they do in as much as the local catholic parish is forced to send much of their "Grand Appeal" money upwards.

PILOT funds

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The churches told the city that after it goes bankrupt, it will achieve total enlightenment. So Boston has that going for it, which is pretty nice.

the costs are all HEALTHCARE

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BPS is on the hook for rising healthcare costs for not only current, but also retired employees (which is rising faster than interest on the pension fund), the cost of employee healthcare currently makes up somewhere between 10-15% of their entire budget (and projected to take up almost a quarter of the school's budget by the end of the decade). Since BPS represents the largest employee pool in the entire city - this is primarily where that most of that money is going.

if Massachusetts had single payer, set healthcare costs, and switched all public employees over to this system, ALL SCHOOL DISTRICTS wouldn't need to ask for additional funding.

Ask any business owner their single biggest cost aside from employee salary - it's a real problem - especially for small businesses.

so yeah - keep blaming rising cost of healthcare on teachers and administrators. that makes total sense.

Because single payer has been

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Because single payer has been proven to cut costs and not exponentially balloon costs or cut quality. /ha ha

Unfortunately that's not true

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You mix a few apples and oranges there, but a couple things;

BPS health care costs are projected to DROP by $290k next year. Over the past 10 years the average increase has been 5.4% - most of that due to HUGE increases prior to the financial crisis. Growth in health care needs to be watched, but it's under control for now and the past several years partly due to changes in the collective bargaining agreements and partly due to market forces.

The primary CURRENT driver of cost increases is collective bargaining agreements. Salary costs (which are 2/3 of the budget) are projected to increase 5% for 158 (2%) fewer employees. All other costs - including health care - is projected to increase 3% - about in line with inflation which is what you'd expect.

Pension costs are mainly outside of this budget - and while teacher pensions are no longer included in this budget or posted online, citywide pensions are increasing in the high single digits each year - I believe this includes non-teacher staff of BPS.

The costs are not ALL healthcare and at least for next year NONE of the cost increases are healthcare.

Percentages hide the reality

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I'd look it up if I had the time, but can you point out how much more money is going to BPS this year than last (2013-2014 versus 2012-2013). Then point out how much of that money is going to salary increases, healthcare increases, capital/equipment/supply purchases/increases (things that directly benefit the kids using them) , and any other major category I can't think of?

The fact that salaries are going up 5% is meaningless if salaries are half of the dollar amount of capital expenditures and those are going up 4%. You could say "Look! Salaries are increasing MORE than school supplies for the kids", but if salaries are going up $20,000 and supplies are going up $39,000 then you're just using the percentages to disguise the truth and muddy the teachers.

Dollar amounts

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Slightly repeated from above - and corrected

$50 million extra in 2012/13
$56 million extra in 2013/14
$36 million extra in 2014/15 (not $40 million as noted above)

Personnel costs increasing next year from $603 million to $631 million (up $28 million for 158 fewer employees). Teachers getting $10.5 million of that but headcount down from 4592 to 4528.

Total all other expenses increasing from 334 million to 342 million ($8 million) - does NOT include capital expenses for things like new roof/AC units etc. - that's a separate budget. Includes everything from fuel and bus maintenance to unemployment and health care to crayons for the kiddies - actually about 40% of this is benefits - which is essentially flat.

False Choices

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What would I suggest we cut to pay for this? Possibly nothing. I would suggest we raise residential property taxes. Our residential property taxes in Boston are far lower than those in surrounding towns, including Brooline, Milton and Newton. I say this with a wink and a nod, as I would actually venture to guess that there are considerable ineficiencies in the school system. However, not all of the budget crunch is due to ineficiencies. A significant portion is from continually rising health costs for current and retired employees. I know, that's because of the union contracts, but that is irrelevant, as the contracts are in place and the obligations are there. The point is that always asking "what would you cut" to pay for this presupposes that there is sufficient tax revenue to begin with, which there simply is not. If you want to pay $4,000 a year in property taxes and have a top-notch school system you may need to find another planet to live on.

This is where everyone gets pissed at me.

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If you want to pay $4,000 a year in property taxes and have a top-notch school system you may need to find another planet to live on.

I know that I'm walking into this one, but the above quote just doesn't jive with reality, or, the other planet is inhabited by paramecia.

We live in Brookline and pay about $2,800 in property taxes on our 2 bedroom condo. A single family detached it is not, but it's big enough for a small family.

Our schools might not be "top notch" in the Weston sense of "top notch", but I think that they are pretty damn good. Also, and importantly, there is a lot of peace of mind that comes with not having to play a "lottery" with my kid's education.

Also, I don't have time to look, but I would be surprised to learn that the residential tax rate in Boston is much lower than in Brookline as stated.

More apples and oranges

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VERY difficult to compare across city lines. Boston's tax rates at $13 actually aren't that low compared to many/most other cities in the Commonwealth - many of which are lower (including Brookline), many higher. The tax rate is just a derivative of a fairly complex formula and low rates are often a function of rapidly rising real estate prices, not low revenues. Keep in mind that while Boston has probably somewhat below average tax rates, we get 60% of our property tax revenue from commercial buildings - mostly the downtown office towers. If our tax structure were more similar to the burbs without this "subsidy", our tax rate to raise the same amount of money would be about double - or one of the highest in the state. We have almost the highest rate of taxation per capita - and while some may say it's because we are a regional hub, when you go through the budget you see that very little of the budget would go away if the tourists and commuters stopped coming to Boston - maybe 10-20% goes for extra public safety and a few other things, but 80-90% of the budget does actually go to fixed costs or resident services of some kind.

If the anon wants to raise the rate - you need to talk to your councilor to propose an override. I don't think there has ever been one and the city probably doesn't want one. If anyone were to shine a light on what we are spending and where we are spending it compared to other cities/towns, there would probably be a lot of red faces on some pretty powerful people. Avoiding overrides keeps the prying eyes of the press away - and the politicians and the unions like to keep these things as quiet as possible. Doesn't always work when arbitrators come back with arbitrary decisions, but those are occasional and one off. Neither side wants a full kimono lifting in the press that an override would precipitate.

You are Right!

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You learn something new every day! You are correct about the residential tax rates (Boston's is higher than Brookline and shockingly higher than Cambridge). Perhaps a better way to look at it is spending per pupil by the school systems taking into account demographics? Quite a problem and I'm not sure how to solve it. I completely agree with you though on the lottery thing.

cupcake joke guys

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tongue in cheek sarcasm? when did UHUB get so bogged down with uptight assholes? everything is sooooooo serious. jesus.

Day 2?

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Day 2?

Lost in Ideology

Lost in the usual arguments about theory and ideology, the straw men and old grievances, is the simple fact that dedicated parents involved in the education of their 57,000 public school children currently attending Boston Public Schools are more than a little alarmed about the future ability of District schools to perform even minimal functions in the face of very real staffing reductions and program consolidation.

One could point the finger at any number of budget line items to find a bogeyman (healthcare? transportation? charter reimbursements? you name it).But this isn't about statistics, it is about children. And children that are being underserved by their city and their state at that.

Parents have for months been all over these pending cuts, appealing to the School Committee, the Mayor, the City Council, Senate and House reps - to little effect. Now, with tongue planted firmly in cheek, they're going back to the activities that many wish they'd stick to: Bake Sales.

But this time it's to make an important point: their personal supplemental contributions are not enough to educate all the children of this city. That is the responsibility of all it's citizenry, and it cannot be abandoned.

How about BPS releases a full

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How about BPS releases a full accounting of how it spends every last penny before asking for more money? We get mad at the DoD for spending 50k on a mil spec toilet seat. I get the feeling BPS is overpaying for a lot of basic supplies and labor.

The expired frozen food being purchased at full price should have been a wake up call.