School Committee President Annemarie Cesa has joined her counterparts from Danvers, Ipswich, Marblehead, Swampscott, Hamilton-Wenham, Manchester-Essex, Gloucester, and Rockport to discuss a group effort to address Chapter 70 funding, and other budget issues that are affecting all the area's school systems. Today's Salem News has a report on the group's efforts. You can see Whelan's full spreadsheet here. His plan would add $1.9 million dollars annually to Beverly's Chapter 70 funding, or about 75% of last year's deficit, which resulted in the closing of one elementary school.
The group response was spearheaded by Cesa and Swampscott School Committee chair Dave Whelan following a July Town Hall meeting in Salem with Governor Patrick, and a subsequent story in the Salem News (see post below also). At the meeting Patrick agreed that the state funding system was broken.
"We're really trying to work sort of as a geographical coalition to spread the word that the infrastructures of schools across the state are imploding," said Whelan.
"We've all had a difficult budget season, and we're all saying, 'How can we work this out together?'" added Cesa, who also sees the group as the start of a more regional approach to education.
"Foreign languages, for example, tend to be first on the chopping block when there's not enough money. But if one school offers Russian, and a student at another school wants to take it, there could be a way for them to do it," she said.
Last month Whelan distributed his own plan to correct some of the glaring inequities he sees in the state funding formula. The plan takes more of a per pupil approach to the funding. Below is an outline of his thinking in developing the plan, which would cost $154 million, no small amount in these tough economic times.
The benefits of my plan are as follows:
The challenges are as follows:
You can see Whelan's full spreadsheet here. His plan would add $1.9 million dollars annually to Beverly's Chapter 70 funding, or about 75% of last year's deficit, which resulted in the closing of one elementary school.