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.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Citizen's Strange Conclusion

The Beverly Citizen has just posted an editorial against the override that will run in Thursday's paper. But if you read many of the points they raise without reading the headline, you would think they were voicing support.

Also confusing is that they seem to be arguing in favor of Dr. Hayes' plan, which was voted down by the School Committee a week ago, but make no mention of Mayor Scanlon's plan, which was approved.

They also consider the proposed class sizes "manageable"

Some excerpts:

We urge a no vote not because the School Committee wastes money and not because School Superintendent Jim Hayes has administrators stuffed in closets.

It’s because Hayes has crafted a plan that keeps manageable class sizes, distributes students requiring free and reduced lunches according to standards the School Committee established more than 10 years ago and maintains the program students need.

Arguments of mismanagement and waste in the system basically fly in the face of reality. In case anyone missed it, school systems throughout the state and the North Shore are either passing overrides or closing schools and cutting programs. If the problem were mismanagement in the Beverly Schools, why is almost every school system in the same boat?

The editorial also goes on to point out new revenue and long-term cost savings proposals that are in the works at both the city and state level that could help the schools in the future:

For the future, there may be revenue that comes on line and further savings, which could prevent an override. ...

The state allowing communities to move employees to the state health insurance plan without union approval would save Beverly an estimated $2.6 million annually.

But again, instead of taking this as a reason to delay irreversible cuts to our schools, they see this as a reason to "Vote no for now."

9:30 PM UPDATE: Further confusing Citizen readers as to what plan is in play, and who came up with what, the paper has also posted a letter from Mayor Scanlon in support of the 5-school plan. Scanlon seems to be backing off on ownership of the plan, saying only that "Members of the School Committee suggested a five-elementary-school plan with early childhood education remaining a part of those schools." He goes on to list reasons why he supports "their plan" over the Superintendent's plan.

Also speaking on the Override, Scanlon goes a step further on his previous statement that he would "endeavor to give the money to the schools on an ongoing basis" saying: "Without regard to what, if any, action the School Committee ultimately takes, I believe that if the override passes, its revenue should be devoted exclusively to the schools in every future budget."

The Citizen also runs a big batch of letters on the override.

1 comment:

Julie D said...

How odd. Aside from the fact that the facts are wrong. This is clearly an argument for a YES vote not a NO vote.