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.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Public Meeting Tonight

Just a reminder of tonight's public meeting on the budget at Beverly High School. Please try to attend. The meeting starts at 7:00 in the auditorium. We posted some new budget documents on Friday (see the post immediately below this one.)

Dr. Hayes has also posted a new note on the district website, which we will reprint here:

The School Committee's Public Hearing for the FY09 Budget will be held in the High School Auditorium on Monday, May 12th, at 7 PM. With a Prop 2 1/2 Override Election scheduled for Tuesday, June 3rd, there are two senarios for a School Department budget - one if the overide passes and one if it does not.

On the Administration page (see post below) are two documents related to those two scenarios. Should the override pass, it would provide the school system with an additional $2.5 million in new revenue. This infusion of new revenue will essentially maintain a level program for next year.

The fact that future revenues are not increasing at the same rate as our expenses is still a cause for concern. The School Committee has indicated that it will act promptly in the fall to study this problem in preparation for the FY10 budget. Preliminary steps will be taken prior to the start of the school year so that this study can begin immediately in September. The School Committee agrees that such a study would benefit from the involvement of members of the community.

The School Committee has yet to take a position on how it will resolve the $2.67 million shortfall that it faces should the override not pass. Thus the document that describes this possibility is necessarily brief. The School Committee will soon clarify its position on this. Ultimately, they will approve two budgets prior to the override election - one for each scenario - so that voters ill know exactly what they are voting for.

These are obviously very trying times for our school system and the City of Beverly. The open and civil dialog within the community has been excellent. I believe that the children of Beverly should be at the center of our thinking on this topic because I see this as a civic responsibility that we all share. I hope that we emerge with the best solution for their education, knowing that what we do for them is a reflection on our entire community.

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

UPDATE: BevCam will NOT be televising tonight's meeting live, but will tape it and air it tomorrow at noon. They will televise Wednesday night's School Committee Meeting live.

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