This site aims to inform and mobilize Beverly parents to take an active role in all issues related to the funding and operation of the city's schools. It was launched in the spring of 2008, when the city saw its first-ever override attempt fail, followed by the closure of a nearly-new elementary school. Subsequent years have seen further cuts that have led to larger class sizes across the district. While the opening of an impressive new high school and plans to replace the city's aging middle school give us reason to be optimistic, the school community must be ever vigilant in demanding appropriate school funding by city and state governments, and better community communications from the district and School Committee.

Monday, November 2, 2015

School Community Unified on Mayor's Race

While the past two Mayoral elections saw some divided loyalties in the school community between those supporting Mike Cahill and those supporting his challengers (ex-Mayor Scanlon in 2011, and City Councilor Wes Slate in 2013), there appear to be no such divisions this year. In fact, its tough to find any school community leaders, or elected officials that are supporting this year's challenger, current Ward 1 School Committee member David Manzi.

The Salem News endorsed Cahill last week, but a much more forceful and well-researched endorsement of Cahill and indictment of Manzi's alternative middle school plan—on which he's resting the bulk of his candidacy—ran in this week's Beverly Citizen.  Of Cahill, the Citizen states:
Incumbent Michael P. Cahill has done a significant amount of work in his short time in office. From getting the DPA lifted on the waterfront and helping to establish a task force to address homelessness on the North Shore to promoting green initiatives and updating the city’s parks, Cahill has worked tirelessly to improve the community. 
He is extremely passionate about the youth in the community, which is demonstrated by his new summer learning initiative. The program gives at-risk first graders the opportunity to enhance their literacy skills in a six-week program during the summer....
Cahill is eyeing a future with free full-day kindergarten by phasing out the current fee charged to families seeking the service. Also on Cahill’s to-do list is a continued effort to address the ever-increasing substance abuse epidemic in the city.
And of Manzi and his plan:
His challenger, David Manzi, on the other hand, seems to have lots of ideas, but not a lot of facts or figures to back them up. Take his middle school plan, for example. Anyone can claim a project could save tens of millions of dollars. But, with no actual price tag attached to Manzi’s middle school plan, it’s difficult to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Manzi is insistent that he’s never been fully in favor of the 5-8 middle school model. However, throughout the extensive vetting process with numerous community meetings and hearings coordinated by the School Committee, of which Manzi is a member, he made no mention of his qualms. The committee then went on to vote unanimously in favor of that configuration in February of 2014.
Manzi is also claiming he can build a state-of-the-art grades 7-8 facility for less than $50 million, though the only numbers he actually has are comparisons to “similar” projects — one an academic building filled with just classrooms, labs and offices and the other a renovation-addition project of an existing school. Essentially, they really aren’t all that similar.
Another important read on the lack of credibility in Manzi's plan is this letter to the editor of both newspapers from School Committee Chairman Paul Manzo, one not generally known to be as vocal on citywide politics as some of his colleagues:
While Mr. Manzi is free to express frustration that his plan has gained little traction with these boards, the fault is not with the dedicated individuals who have spent many hours in study and discussion of the more viable alternative. Instead, Mr. Manzi should have either requested a comprehensive discussion of both plans, or focused his efforts on improving his favored option to address the glaring fiscal and educational deficiencies that are apparent to the members of the middle school building committee, School Committee and the City Council.
An essential trait of any committee member is the ability – following debate and discussion – to support the consensus decision regardless of individual opinion. The fact that Mr. Manzi has decided to follow a self-serving path after failing to convince his colleagues that his plan is superior to that endorsed by the middle school building committee only highlights the fatally flawed nature of his alternative.
The fact is that the middle school plan, which was the result of nearly four years of open and public process, was approved by the Middle School Building Committee by a vote of 20-1, with only Manzi dissenting and passed the City Council unanimously. The 5-8 configuration had previously been approved unanimously by the School Committee—including Manzi—even though Manzi now calls the 5-8 configuration a "failed model".

The project has been enthusiastically supported by the Mass School Building Authority (MSBA), who praised Beverly's process of designing a building to support a very forward-looking educational program as a model that other communities should emulate. It's very unlikely that the MSBA would look kindly on, or fund, a complete 180 by the city on a plan that they have already invested so heavily in.

In concluding the previously noted endorsement, the Beverly Citizen summarized the electorate's choice as follows:
What it boils down to is that residents of Beverly deserve more than just vague concepts and unsubstantiated claims; our current mayor has a proven track record of getting things done, all while conducting business in an incredibly transparent manner.
Cahill has earned our endorsement and deserves your vote.
We, and most who want to see continued progress in the Beverly Public Schools, wholeheartedly agree.

We also encourage Ward 2 voters to turn out and support Paul Manzo over his clearly unqualified challenger Adam Hartmann for the only contested School Committee seat, and Ward 3 voters to support incumbent Jim Latter over Rick Marciano for City Council.

Both of these challengers would also attempt to derail this widely supported plan—none with any clearly defined alternative.  Such a move would be a major setback to our schools and our city.

Please vote, and encourage your friends and neighbors to vote on Tuesday.  In a low turnout election, as is expected this year, each vote matters more than ever.

Note: BevCam interviews with the six candidates for these three contested seats appear in the post below.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Election Focus is on Mayoral and Ward Two School Committee Races

Election season is heating up in Beverly and while this year is relatively quiet for competitive races [see update below], the School Committee will see major changes with three new candidates running unopposed in Wards 1, 4 & 5.

With so much change guaranteed on the School Committee, the one competitive race— in Ward 2 where current committee president Paul Manzo is being challenged by resident Adam Hartmann who opposes both the middle school plan and the PARCC test—takes on added significance.

In the Mayoral Race, incumbent Mike Cahill is being challenged by current school committee member David Manzi, who promises to halt the new middle school project, which was recently approved unanimously by the City Council and the Mass School Building Authority, and is slated to begin preliminary construction in January.

As they do every year, BevCam has conducted interviews with the candidates.  We are embedding the interviews with both Ward 2 School Committee candidates, and both Mayoral candidates below.

We believe the incumbent is the clear choice in both of these races, and encourage all those interested in the continued progress of the Beverly School District to watch and share these videos, study the facts, make sure you vote, and encourage your friends, especially those in Ward 2 to vote.

School Committee Ward 2

Incumbent: Paul Manzo

Challenger: Adam Hartmann


Incumbent: Mike Cahill

Challenger: David Manzi

UPDATE: In addition to the above races, there is one other competitive race this year in Ward 3 of the City Council. Perennial candidate Rick Marciano is challenging incumbent councilor and former school committee member Jim Latter. Like the two races above, this race pits an incumbent candidate who is a supporter of the current middle school plan—which is the product of many years of planning by two Mayoral administrations and the Mass School Building Authority—against a challenger that opposes the plan and wants to start over. The interviews with these two candidates are below.

As far as the Councilor-At-Large race, this year there are only three candidates for three spots, although the top vote getter of the three (Paul Guanci, Jason Silva & Matt St. Hilaire) becomes council president. All three are strong supporters of the schools in general, and the middle school plan in particular.

Ward 3 City Council

Incumbent: Jim Latter

Challenger: Rick Marciano

Thursday, February 27, 2014

5-8 Model Approved; Success Hinges on Execution

As expected, the School Committee voted unanimously last night to approve the 5-8 model for the new middle school, but made it clear that the vote was just the beginning of a long and detailed process.  The plan's success, they say, depends on proper execution in the building's design, which would create separate spaces for 5-6 and 7-8 grades. Equally important is a well-planned preparation for the transition, including development of a revised 5th and 6th grade academic program as well as a detailed focus on the social/adjustment issues of the transitioning elementary school students.

Critics of the plan feel that the move is being made more for budgetary and space issues at the elementary schools than for academic benefits of the 5th graders. While it is clear that those issues were major factors in the committee's decision, in the end it appears that they were convinced that done right, the benefits of the plan to the district as a whole far outweighed the drawbacks.

Today's Salem News has details on the thought behind the plan:
School Committee members said last night that they visited several districts with a grade 5-to-8 middle school model, and the reports were largely favorable.

“I kept waiting for that red flag, the one that said, ‘God almighty, don’t build a 5-to-8 middle school,’ and it never came,” School Committee President Paul Manzo said.

Some parents had expressed concerns about fifth-graders mixing in with older middle school students. Committee member Kris Silverstein said those worries will be addressed by designing the school as “literally two small schools within a building,” with a lower school for grades 5 and 6 and an upper school for grades 7 and 8.

[Mayor] Cahill said the plan is to “keep our lower and upper school middle-school students separate whenever possible.”...

...[Ward 4 School Committee Rep Matt] Kavanagh said the model will only work if the plan is executed properly.

“To move your young son or daughter out of elementary school is a difficult thing,” he said. “If we prepare well for that transition, it will work well. If we don’t, it won’t work well. It’s all in the execution.”
Over the past several weeks city and school officials have held five public forums that brought together administration officials, as well as educators from outside districts familiar with the 5-8 model to detail the plan, and address the community's concerns. Throughout the process it became clear that the board was heading toward this decision, but that much had been learned about public process from recent city and school events. The amount of public information and outreach was unprecedented in Beverly, and the committee and administration seem well aware that the ultimate success of the plan demands continued focus and transparency.

BevCam filmed last night's meeting and vote, and we will post a link when available.

For those parents new to this issue, a lot of the earlier history of the plan can be found in the archive of this site, beginning in December of 2011, and working backwards from there.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Final Middle School Forum Tonight; Configuration Vote Wednesday

It's your last chance to hear the presentation on the proposed grade 5-8 middle school model - TONIGHT at the Cove School, 6:30pm. Please let your School Committee representative know what you think about this proposal - they vote WEDNESDAY NIGHT! Contact information School Committee members and all new elected officials is located here.

If you can't make it tonight, the video of an earlier forum is in the post below.

2/27 UPDATE:
Below is the video of the Cove forum, as well as an earlier forum held at Hannah School.  The North Beverly forum is embedded in the previous post.

Cove Forum:

Hannah Forum:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Middle School Configuration Forum

The district has been holding a series of forums to discuss the proposed grade 5-8 configuration of the new middle school.  Embedded below is the video of the North Beverly forum provided by BevCam.

If you'd like to attend one of these forums in person, the final date, at Cove School has been rescheduled for Tuesday 2/25 from 6:30-8:30pm

The School Committee plans to vote on the configuration at its meeting on February 26th.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Committee Goes with Hiersche

The School Committee went with the most experienced candidate tonight, giving the top vote for Superintendent to Dr. Steven Hiersche over the three other finalists. Hiersche is a former superintendent in Framingham, Watertown and Plymouth, and currently the Interim Executive Director at the ACCEPT Education Collaborative in Natick.

Members had praise for each of the other candidates, and seemed especially high on Wellesley High Principal Andrew Keough, who both Kris Silverstein and Annemarie Cesa declared as their top choice. Committee member Matt Kavanagh also suggested that Keough would have been his personal favorite, but felt that Hiersche was the experienced hand that the district needed right now, considering the void at the top of the administration, which currenly also lacks an assistant superintendent. In the end the committee agreed that experience trumped all the other considerations at this point in the district's evolution.

The vote to endorse the choice of Hiersche was 5-2 with Silverstein and Cesa voting no. Following the initial vote, the committee voted to reconsider, and gave Hiersche a unanimous 7-0 vote of support.

In-house candidate Sean Gallagher received universal praise for his performance as principal of Beverly High, and was credited by Paul Manzo for his vision in leading many district-wide initiatives. But all members felt that he was not yet ready for the Superintendent role compared to the other, more experienced candidates.

Next week the committee will conduct site visits to confirm their choice of Hiersche, before negotiating a contract, and making the choice official.

NOVEMBER 16, UPDATE: Today's Salem News has more details on the selection of Hiersche and details his lengthy resume:
Hiersche is the interim executive director for the ACCEPT Education Collaborative, and he served 17 years as a superintendent in Hopkinton, Framingham, Watertown, Plymouth and Orleans. He was also a principal in Vermont for nine years. He has a master’s degree in education from Westfield State College and a doctorate in education from the University of Sarasota. 
as well as some of the potential cautionary points:
Misgivings about Hiersche include the fact that he will continue to live in Bourne, although it was suggested he could stay in Beverly during the week. “My concern isn’t just that he doesn’t live in the city,” said Manzi. “He’s two hours away.” He added, “I’m a little cautious of his style to a degree. ... Some people are going to love it. Some people are not going to love it.”

“He has a big personality,” noted Kavanagh.

Cesa noted that Hiersche had won the superintendent’s job in Mashpee earlier this year only to have contract negotiations break off and another candidate given the job. Not mentioned was a May 10 article in revealing that “some school committee members expressed concern about Dr. Hiersche after Framingham media outlets alleged that school officials had mishandled sexual assault cases while Dr. Hiersche led the district.” But his supporters on the Beverly board dismissed the Mashpee matter as a contract dispute.
The Mashpee situation, which was known to members of the Beverly committee, is of some concern, but further research shows the situation may have been as much a result of tribal politics in Mashpee as anything.

Below is the BevCam video of the School Committee discussion and voting session:

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Superintendent Interview Videos

BevCam has begun posting videos of the interviews with the four Superintendent candidates.  As they are available, we will post below.  Also, keep an eye on Channel 22, where you may be able to see them in a more timely manner.  The first began showing last night.

Also, while we are still hearing conflicting reports on what the Friday afternoon wrapup and vote will entail, at last night's School Committee meeting, Dr Argenziano outlined his hopes that the committee will indeed select a single candidate at Friday's meeting, which will be at 4pm in the high school library.  This is "imperative" he says, due to specific compeition for two of the candidates with another district.

Argenziano also addressed another concern heard in the community and by some on the committee, that the candidates in general do not rise to the experience and education level that they had hoped for.  This, he stated, is due to the budget available for this position.
"You know, everybody wants an experienced Superintendent with 30 years, but we have a budget, and we have to live within our budget, so that somewhat dictates how we proceed"
BevCam's video of last night's committee meeting where this was discussed is available to view here. Scroll down, and its the top link in the list of videos.  The particular exchange about the Superintendent Search begins at 31:50 in the video. Argenziano also goes into further detail on the process and budget considerations at the beginning of the first candidate interview below.

Superintendent candidate interviews begin below, and will be updated as others become available.

Sean Gallagher
Current Principal at Beverly High School

Christopher Malone
Current Assistant Superintendent in Revere

Dr. Andrew Keough 
Current Wellesley High School Principal

Dr. Steven A. Hiersche 
Former Superintendent in Framingham, Watertown and Plymouth

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Superintendent Interviews Begin Today

The School Committee will interview BHS Principal Sean Gallagher today at 4pm to begin a week of interviews of the four finalists for Superintendent.  The full schedule is listed in the post below.  Friday, the Committee will meet again 4:00 to discuss the interviews, but its still unclear whether they plan to vote on a choice, narrow the field, or proceed with site visits to all four candidates districts.  Today's Patch has their take on the process.

BevCam will film the interviews, and tell us that they will post, as well as broadcast on Channel 8 withing 24 hours of each interview.  We will embed or link to the interviews below this thread when they are available.  Please check back.

NOVEMBER 14 UPDATE:  No videos have been posted yet by BevCam, but the interview with Sean Gallagher is showing on Channel 22 today (Thursday) at 9am, 2pm & 8pm.  No other showings have been announced.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Superintendent Finalists to be Interviewed

Dr. Argenziano, interim Superintendent of Schools, today released this video, announcing times for next week's interviews with the four finalists for permanent Superintendent. In it, he also states that the interviews will be recorded by BevCam and televised, but not until the following day. The public is invited to attend the sessions, and will be able to submit questions to the candidates.

The finalists include Beverly High School Principal Sean Gallagher, and former Beverly High Assistant Principal Christopher Malone.  The candidate biographies were posted last week by the district, and the Salem News also ran a story on the choices.

The finalists will be interviewed at the high school on the following schedule:

Sean Gallagher
Current Principal at Beverly High School
Tuesday, November 12, 4-6 pm

Christopher J. Malone
Current Assistant Superintendent in Revere
(former Assistant Principal at BHS)
Tuesday, November 12, 6:15-8:15 pm

Dr. Andrew Keough
Current Wellesley High School Principal
Wednesday, November 13, 4-6 pm

Dr. Steven A. Hiersche
Former Superintendent in Framingham, Watertown and Plymouth
Thursday, November 14, 4-6 pm

What happens after that seems somewhat unclear. [SEE UPDATE BELOW]

According to the most recent agenda, and the video posted above, the search committee will then meet the next day, Friday, November 15th at 4pm to vote on their top choice.  This meeting is also at the high school, and will be open to the public.

But the full search process schedule, which is posted on the district website shows an additional two weeks of site visits and "Thorough Background Checks on Four Finalists," following the interviews, and no final decision made until the week of December 2nd. Last week's Salem News story also listed this schedule.

From what we've been able to confirm from school committee sources, the newer, more compressed schedule appears to be the one they are following.  Please contact your own School Committee Rep if you'd like to clarify or comment on the process or share your views on any of the candidates.

If you'd like to get an advanced look at some of the finalists, two were recently candidates for Superintendent in Hopkington, and video excepts of their interviews can be seen here: (Keough) (Hiersche).

NOVEMBER 8 UPDATE: Members of the school committee have confirmed that the committee will vote on Friday the 15th, and attempt to make a choice among the four, or at least narrow to two.  They will then do background checks and a site visit to that candidate(s)'s current district.  This is being done in part, it seems, because the candidate pool is limited, and there is often competition between districts for top candidates.

Bottom line, anyone who is able to, and wants to be involved in the process should try to attend the interviews, and the Friday evening vote.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Visnick Victory Reshapes School Committee

Coming on a night when the city reshaped its entire political power structure by electing a new mayor and four new city councilors,  the results of a school committee race in a single ward still created nearly as much excitement among school activists. 

Lorinda Visnick, running in her first political campaign soundly defeated 8-year school committee veteran, and current president Maria Decker by a margin of 1,192 votes to 972.

The victory in Ward 6 followed the general theme of this election season across the city, the desire for more transparency and inclusiveness in city government. It can be seen as a public rebuke to Decker's management style as much as to Visnick's strong grassroots campaign and connections within the community.

While doggedly pushing through the beginning stages of the middle school project and the process of hiring a new superintendent, Decker often did so in what even some of her own committee members felt was a closed, and less than inclusive process. Talk of a "toxic" environment, and of a clash between the committee leadership and district administration were commonplace over the past two years.

Visnick, a well-known voice in the school community campaigned on many of these issues, and drew endorsements from across the city, including from many current and former school committee members and PTO leaders.

Today's Salem News reports on Visnick's victory:
“I knocked on a lot of doors. I got my message out, and I had a lot of help,” Visnick said. “Nobody wins a seat by themselves.”

Visnick, a software engineer, said there’s been only one public forum on the project to build a new middle school, and she wants to bring more transparency and openness to the project to make sure people aren’t left in the dark. The new school will be built at the site of the former Memorial Middle School, with a September 2017 target date to open.

“That whole process has to be blown open,” she said, in terms of information getting out to the public. “I think we need to look at the superintendent candidates and see if any of the four of them are really qualified and the best person to lead Beverly where it needs to go.”
The new committee, which will take over in January,  must immediately choose a new president, and continue the major tasks of hiring of a new Superintendent, and continuing the middle school rebuilding process, in what all hope is a more transparent and inclusive manner.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Ward 6 School Committee Debate

If you missed the Ward 6 School Committee debate earlier this month, you can now view it online thanks to BevCam. This race pits current School Committee President Maria Decker against challenger Lorinda Visnick, a well-known voice in the community. Given some of the conflict within the school committee over the past two years, and the recent departure of both the superintendent and the assistant superintendent, this is a very closely watched race, not just in Ward 6, but across the city, as it has become something of a referendum on Decker's leadership.

Major decisions await the next school committee, including the hiring of a new superintendent and assistant superintendent, as well as the middle school building project and the very important decision as to whether that building should include 5th graders. That is a decision that many feel has still not received a full and public debate as to the educational merits of such a structure. These issues and others are discussed here, and the candidates demonstrate a stark difference in their perceptions on the state of the district administration. The school committee debate leads off the video, and is followed by the city council, and mayoral debates.

Friday, October 18, 2013

School Committee Races Heat Up

There are two contested races for School Committee this year.  The most closely watched citywide is in Ward 6 where Lorinda Visnick, a well known voice in the school community is challenging Maria Decker, the current committee president. Visnick and Decker will participate in the Centerville Improvement Society's Candidate's Night next Tuesday, October 22, at 7:00 PM.

The other contested race is in Ward 5, where incumbent Annemarie Cesa is being challenged by Duane Anderson.

Below are BevCam's interviews with each of these candidates:

Ward 6 Lorinda Visnick

Ward 6 Maria Decker

Ward 5 Annemarie Cesa

Ward 5 Duane Anderson

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Follow Us on Twitter

I apologize for not keeping this site as current as it used to be, but for the most part I've moved to posting most school news through our Twitter feed. Please follow that for the latest Beverly school news.  When there is important or breaking news, I'll still try to post here, and will also try to keep the curated links to the right relatively current. Also, if there are any parents who follow school news closely and want to take over and re-energize this site, please contact John.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

FY14 Budget Highlights

A public hearing on the FY14 will be held Tuesday night at 7pm in the auditorium at Beverly High School.  The draft budget can be viewed here. Today's Salem News has a brief summary.

The administration list the following changes in staffing, operating budgets, programs and revenues. The changes in staffing result in a total increase of 8.9 full-time equivalents.

A. Positions/Adjustments
  1. At the district level (effective FTE changes = +1.0)
    • Add .5 nurse at Memorial to oversee the preschool classes. ($22,000) This is actually a full time position shared with Recovery High School.
    • Add a .5 K/PreK position due to increase in enrollment ($25,000)
    • Health Insurance increase due to loss of grant funding ($100,000). No increase in premium cost for FY14.
  2. At the elementary level (effective FTE additions = +4)
    • At Ayers Elementary School
      • Increase 1FTE in Grade 1 due to projected enrollment
    • At Centerville Elementary
      • Increase 1 FTE in Grade 1 due to projected enrollment.
      • Decrease 1FTE in Grade 2 due to projected enrollment
      • Decrease 1FTE in Grade 4 due to projected enrollment
      • Increase 1 FTE in SSP classroom (position repurposed)
    • At Cove Elementary School
      • Increase 1FTE in Grade 1 due to projected enrollment
      • Decrease 1 FTE in Grade 3 due to projected enrollment
      • Increase 1 FTE in Grade 4 due to projected enrollment
      • Increase 1 FTE in Full Day K due to projected enrollment
    • At Hannah Elementary School
      • Increase 1 FTE in Grade 4 projected enrollment
      • Increase 1 FTE in Grade 1 projected enrollment
      • Increase in 1 FTE Literacy Coach (parity with other schools)
      • Decrease 1 FTE in Full Day Kindergarten (to North Beverly)
    • At North Beverly Elementary School
      • Increase 1 FTE in Full Day Kindergarten (from Hannah)
  3. At the middle school: (effective FTE additions = +.5 FTE)
    • Add a teaching 6th for Foreign Language to reduce class size in Reading ($8,500)
    • Add .5 School Adjustment Counselor to support transition of student from grade 8 to 9.
  4. At the high school: (effective FTE additions = +3.4 FTE)
    • Increase .4 FTE Nurse at BHS for 3 hours a day to cover medication administration ($18,900)
    • Increases 1 FTE in Science (Physics) to align with Common Core for labs ($50,000)
    • Increase 1 FTE PE/Wellness Teacher to reduce class size ($50,000)
    • Increase .5 FTE Music Teacher to reduce class size ($25,000)
    • Add .5 FTE School Adjustment Counselor to support transition of students from grade 8 to 9.
B. Operating Budgets
  • Operating budgets are level funded for FY14.
  • Project a 4% increase in utilities.
  • Project a 3% increase in special education collaborative tuitions.
  • Health Insurance rates are level funded.
  • Loss of $100,000 from Edujobs grant in FY13; grant ended.
  • Provides for a 1.5% salary increase for union contracts.
  • Provides for an average salary increase of 3% for Principals and Central Office Administration.
C. Program
  • Upgrade of the Briscoe and Elementary School Networks to support more one to one learning
  • Movement of 3.5 preschool classes to Memorial Building
  • Added funding for social emotional support for Middle and High School students with social/emotional needs.
  • Tuition and fees increased by 2.5 % except: Transportation, Athletics, Kindergarten.
  • HS parking reduced to $100.
D. Revenue
  • Plan for an increase in the General Fund Revenue from the City to $1,100,000 (an increase of 1% over FY13)
  • Project a 70% level of reimbursements for the Circuit Breaker program This will result in an increase of about $211,355
  • Increase in school choice revenue by $4,976
  • Increase in Chapter 70 Funding ($108,375) 
Elementary class size concerns appear less of an issue, and slightly more uniform than in past years.  Highest class size projections are in the 4th grade at Centerville and Ayers (27.5 and 28 respectively).

The only controversy we have heard about centers around the issue of school security at the elementary schools, which is being pushed by a group of parents at North Beverly and Hannah.  They have circulated an email to parents saying that security at the schools is less than it should be, and asking the school committee to "include funds for more security at our five elementary schools."

BevCam will televise the hearing live on Channel 8.

5/15 UPDATE: Today's Salem News has a report on the public hearing.