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, February 25, 2010

Report on Budget Presentation

Dr Hayes presented the School Committee last night with this initial draft budget that reduces the previously stated shortfall of $3 million to just under $750,000.

While we don't have much context at this point, as to what specific cuts are included, Hayes has posted the following letter explaining some of the savings proposals --including a plan to shift some kindergarten students out of their home schools--on the district website:

The initial budget proposal for the 2010-11 school year was presented to the School Committee on Wednesday, February 24th. In January, they learned that a level service budget for next year would take over $3 million more than anticipated revenues. The Initial FY11 Budget proposed numerous cuts in staff and reductions in supply and professional development accounts. In doing so, it reduced the budget shortfall to $737,304.

Prior to reviewing the budget, I gave an overview of projected enrollments, class sizes, and staffing for elementary classrooms. This report showed a combination of staff cuts, transfers, and additional staff needs, resulting in no change to the current level of staffing our elementary schools. It did indicate shifts of kindergarten students from what might be considered their "home school" to another elementary school. These shifts happen every year and are done to better balance class sizes and staff utilization. I would caution parents that these planned shifts of kindergarten students are PRELIMINARY and could easily change. [accenting is Hayes'] We do expect to commit to a plan for kindergarten in mid-March.

The School Committee has given the administration direction on what it would look for to further close our budget shortfall. The administration will be working on these approaches between now and the next meeting on the budget, scheduled for Wednesday, March 24, 2010. Meetings on the budget are public, and the School Committee and I welcome interested the attendance of parents and other citizens.

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.org.

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