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, January 28, 2010

FY11 School Budget Shows $3 Million Gap

The Citywide PTO and school leaders went to great pains tonight to present some of the positive developments in the Beverly schools, going so far as rebranding tonight's presentation, An Evening of Accomplishments. Speakers, ranging from Superintendent Hayes to School Committee President Cesa, to representatives from each of the schools celebrated the successes of the past year, including a progress report on the high school.

Still, the stunning announcement that the preliminary school budget numbers show a $3 million shortfall will no doubt be tomorrow's Salem News headline, and the main topic of conversation in the school community. The graphic below tells the bleak story.

How do we find ourselves at this point again, after closing two schools in the past four years?

That is the question we will have to confront again over the next few months as we once again attempt to deal with the realities of the situation. As we did in 2008, we will again aim to make this site the go to place for information.

We have posted both of tonight's Powerpoint presentations. Dr. Hayes' presentation details the progress of the high school, explains how technology is being integrated into the education process, presents other relevant statistics, and talks about increased government mandates, and shrinking budgets. He praises the system's successes in the face of all these challenges, saying he is "Amazed with the progress we are making with such limited resources," before presenting what may be the biggest challenge yet.

The other presentation, which Asst. Superintendent Galinski gave tonight, is titled Accountability & Assessment. It explains in detail the MCAS rating system, what is meant by "Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP),” the challenges posed by the system, and where Beverly rates.

We invite other regular contributors and readers of this blog to add further details we may have missed in the comments section below this post, and always welcome any and all input into the site.

1/29 UPDATE: Here is the Salem News take on last night's presentation.

The presentation was filmed by BevCam. We are awaiting word as to when it will be shown.