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.

Friday, April 11, 2008

A Two-Pronged Strategy

Dr. Hayes has posted a note (reprinted below) on the district website that commends the city council for approving the Prop 2½ Override election, but also points out that the school committee still needs to approve a budget under the current funding in the event that the override doesn't pass.

There are opportunities next week for people to get involved on both fronts.

Sunday night
is an organizational meeting for Yes! for Beverly. All those willing and able to volunteer their time and talents to help get the word out and pass the override are urged to attend.

Wednesday night is another Public Meeting with Dr. Hayes and the School Committee. This is one more chance to bring your questions and creative ideas on the budget to the table in a public forum.

Details on both of these meetings, as well as other upcoming events, are in the post above.

Next Steps for FY09 Budget

The Public Meeting held on April 1st to discuss the proposals I made to close the $2.67 million shortfall for FY09 was a great opportunity for community input to a major decision affecting the whole City. I have prepared a document which responds to the questions and comments presented that evening. It is important to me that citizens be as informed as possible, so I hope you will take the time to read my April 1st response as well as other documents on our Administration webpage.

The recent decision by the City Council to hold an election on June 3rd for an override of Prop 2½ is a historic step for the City of Beverly. It gives the voters a direct say in the future of their school system and their community in general.

Moving forward, I believe the School Committee needs to plan for two scenarios, one based on the current revenue projection and one based on the additional $2.5 million that would come to the schools through a successful override vote. I will be preparing two such budgets for their consideration and will ask that they approve budgets for both scenarios by mid-May. Once an override vote is taken we will be ready regardless of which way the vote goes. In addition, I believe the Committee needs to decide as soon as possible its position on the reconfiguration of the elementary schools. Parents, students, and staff are anxious about their uncertain future, and the sooner we can take definitive steps the better for all involved.

As always, if you have any questions about our schools, please do not hesitate to contact a building principal or central office administrator. To contact the Superintendent's Office, you may call 978-921-6100 or email me at jim.hayes@beverlyschools.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Jim Hayes
Superintendent of Schools

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