I had the privilege of being part of a community meeting this morning that focused on the current proposal for Beverly schools and have been elected to send you this email. We were 60+ strong and had a very constructive meeting. Out of this meeting came numerous questions that we need information on prior to the public hearing on April 1st. We would very much appreciate answers so that we as concerned Beverly citizens can assist the School Committee in addressing the budget issues. Please let me detail each in turn:
- What prevents the School Committee from preparing a budget that works and provides for our children and submitting to the Mayor and City Council who then have the elected responsibility to balance the citywide budget?
- What is the timeline for implementation of the alternative secondary school? What are the costs involved in transforming McKeown for this purpose? Will the city cover the costs involved? When does it become revenue generating? Where does the staffing for this facility come from and how will that impact future budgets?
- What is the plan for next year when we are again faced with double digit increases in utilities, health insurance and special education?
- What are the benefits of a dedicated Early Childhood Center as opposed to the current model?
- In the presentation, there is a statistic that states that class size has very little influence on student success. Where did this statistic come from? Is there an explanation provided as to why this study is the valid one when for years the opposite has been cited as the truth?
- There are many statistics cited throughout the proposal. Can we please have more details on the sources for this information?
- In addition to what is presented on slide 15, were there other alternatives considered i.e.: closing Memorial altogether, not providing preschool to peer models, freezing administrative staff salaries, etc.?
- Are preschool classes full now? Does the peer modeling portion generate revenue to cover expenses? If the preschool enrollment is "exploding" what portion is special education? How has this increase been factored into sustainability of the current proposal?
- What are the School Choice costs and revenues we are realizing?
- Given the scope of Special Education and the enormous costs involved, can we see a very detailed breakdown of this line item?
- Do the projected class size numbers include the Special Education students that are integrated into the classroom? If not, why? What safety and space issues have been discussed and addressed?
- What are the future plans to account for population changes and student increases? How have you accounted for Beverly students that may return to the public school system from private or parochial schools?
- Why is there no grant money included in this budget? What grants are we going after and which ones do we anticipate receiving based upon previous history. Doesn't this mean that the shortfall could actually be less? Are there other grants that we should be applying for?
- How can we maintain quality of education when the population of the students remains the same but we are losing paraprofessionals and reading teachers. With this loss, how can the schools comply with specific IEPs that are Federally mandated?
- How do we handle logistics with the increases in students i.e.: lunches, assemblies, parking, etc.? What are the safety implications for the children and how does this affect insurance coverage? Are there structural changes that need to be made to any of the physical facilities to accommodate the shifting population? Have these costs been captured?
- What would the cost be to climate all bussing? How much could be saved in consolidating services?
- At Briscoe Middle School, we just reconfigured the teaching teams. What is the educational impact of doing this again?
- Can we get a detailed breakdown of the roles, responsibilities and salaries for each administrative position (Supervisors, Directors, Clerks, etc.)
information as soon as possible so that we can distribute this to all
concerned and have a productive meeting on Tuesday night.
Michelle Morrow Curreri
If you have any other questions, please bring them to the Tuesday meeting, or leave them as comments here.