Beverly faces many of the same issues impacting all Massachusetts communities. State aid has decreased, while operating costs and unfunded state and federal mandates have increased.
But while two-thirds of Massachusetts towns have already passed overrides, some multiple times, as a way to deal with their budget issues, Beverly never has. In fact, Beverly has never even put an override on the ballot.
Instead, we've made many tough choices.
In the past five years, we've closed schools, cut dozens of teachers, added fees, and increased class sizes. Several years ago we closed Memorial Middle School, and placed all of the city's middle school students in the 85-year-old Briscoe building in order to help close a similar gap.
If McKeown school were to close, as is the current plan, it would be the 3rd school closed in the city in the past 5 years.
Superintendent Hayes states:
"Over the last several years we have chipped away and chipped away at the kind of education we should be providing the children of Beverly. The professionals we employ have done their best to adapt what they do with the resources they have and have “made it work”. We can make this reconfiguration work, too, but it will not be easy, and Beverly will not be providing the quality of education we aspire to. That difference in quality has a direct correlation to the perceived quality of a community. And that has a direct impact on all Beverly citizens. If you think these cuts to education don’t affect you, you are wrong. Yes, it costs a lot to educate a child; it costs even more if you don’t."
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.