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, May 9, 2008

New Budget Information

Dr. Hayes has posted two new documents on the district website that have been prepared for Monday's Public Hearing. One is a full draft budget for a YES VOTE on the override that keeps the current school configuration. The second is a document with some more specifics on the previously discussed budget for a NO VOTE on the override. There is probably not a lot of new information here, but Dr. Hayes clearly lays out for the community, what he calls the "Implications of Not Passing an Override." The text of this document is reproduced below, or you can download the original version.

Implications of Not Passing an Override
Faced with a $2.67 million shortfall in early March and the prospect of a Prop 2½ override vote failing, the School Committee is giving serious consideration to proposals that would reconfigure its elementary schools, cut staff at Beverly High School, and increase a number of tuitions and fees. As of the Public Hearing, no final decision has been made regarding these proposals. A great deal of information on these proposals has already been made available to the public and is therefore not reproduced here. Such documents are available on the school district website,, or can be obtained through the office of the Superintendent of Schools. NOTE: Most of these documents are also linked to the left under "City Documents"

Reconfiguration of the Elementary Schools
The six elementary schools in Beverly have served grades K-5 for a number of years. During that time, a preschool program has operated at several sites; preschool classrooms are currently located in two of those schools. Under the reconfiguration plan recommended by the Superintendent, the Cove School would become an Early Childhood Center servicing preschool and kindergarten students from across the City. The McKeown School would serve as a school for an alternative program for both middle and high school students, with a very good possibility of a partnership that would locate at McKeown a similar program of the Northshore Education Consortium. Students in grades 1-5 from the Cove School would be reassigned to either the Centerville or Hannah schools, and students in grades 1-5 from the McKeown School would be reassigned to either the Ayers Ryal Side or the North Beverly schools. An alternative proposal which would interchange Cove and Hannah in the above proposal has also been suggested. These reconfigured models are commonly referred to as “4 and 1 models”.

Reduction of Staff at Beverly High School
Two teacher retirements, one in Social Studies and one at midyear in English, would not be replaced. A position in Foreign Language (Latin) will be eliminated. Other teacher reductions include Special Education (.5), Art (.3), and PE/Wellness (1.4). One half-time and one full-time paraprofessional positions will also be cut. An additional paraprofessional position has been moved from the appropriated budget to a grant.

Increase Tuitions and Fees
The following rates would remain the same as those established for FY08:
  • Transportation would remain at $300 per student and $600 per family
  • Student parking at the High School would remain at $175 per student
  • Middle School athletics would remain at $100
  • Elementary Instrumental Music would remain at $195 per student

The following increases are proposed:

  • EEC from $450 to $460 for grade 3 and $900 to $920 for grades 4 and 5
  • High School athletics from $185 per sport to a three-tiered system described below
  • Preschool (4-day week program) from $205 to $225 per month
  • Full-day kindergarten from $3,600 to $4,000 per student

The athletic fee structure for High School athletics would assess higher fees for more expensive sports, defined as follows:

  • $200 Gymnastics, Girls’ Volleyball, Golf, Boys’ & Girls’ Tennis, Cross Country, Fall & Winter Cheerleading, Boys’ & Girls’ Indoor Track, Wrestling, Boys’ & Girls’ Track and Field
  • $250 Boys’ & Girls’ Lacrosse, Swimming, Field Hockey, Boys’ & Girls’ Soccer, Boys’ & Girls’ Basketball, Softball, Baseball
  • $300 Football, Boys’ & Girls’ Ice Hockey
Both documents were posted today on the administration website.

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