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.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Redistricting to Affect All Schools

According to today's Salem News, Dr. Hayes and his team are already at work on the plan to reassign McKeown students in wake of Tuesday night's School Committee vote to close the school.

While the redestricting will not entirely redraw the city's map, Hayes says it will affect students in all of the elementary schools, and some students may not know where they're going or who their teachers will be until sometime over the summer.

As McKeown students are put into new schools, some in outlying areas of other districts will need to be moved elsewhere, to balance class sizes, and the free & reduced lunch population. This is called soft redistricting, but as some pointed out after Tuesday's meeting, "it's not soft, if it's your child being redistricted."

Since so many of the details of this plan are still unknown, where the budget numbers will come in, is also unknown.

"
There could be a shortfall of anywhere from $200,000 to $500,000" Hayes said yesterday. "This can create a whole set of different cuts. What are we going to do?"

He said it could mean cutting a team of teachers at Briscoe — which the district just reinstated — or cutting programs.

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