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.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

School Committee Kills Hannah Plan

Saying she didn't see much sentiment among the group for pursuing the ECC model any further, School Committee President Annemaria Cesa and her colleagues, effectively killed the Superintendent's short-lived plan to reconfigure the elementary schools.

Paul Manzo then told Dr. Hayes he needed to come back with "equitable cuts across all cost centers," which Manzo said was what the Committee had originally requested.

While there was some discussion about reductions in physical education, the Committee also indicated that they didn't support wholesale elimination of art, music, and gym teachers, which had also been suggested as an option.

For the hour and a half that led up to the final announcement, Hayes took the Committee through the budget summary spreadsheet, but most of the time was spent discussing individual line items, or side issues such as busing costs, night custodians, and physical education regulations.

It was clear early on, that there wasn't much support on the Committee for the Hannah plan, with Cesa saying "it feels like this budget is completely on the backs of the elementary schools."

Even though the meeting ended on a celebratory note, especially for Hannah parents and staff, there is still a good deal of pain and many tough decisions ahead. But the Committee's directive of "cobbling together" many smaller cuts, as Karen Fogarty put it, seems to be a much more appropriate direction than looking for a million dollars in a drastic single step.

UPDATE: Thursday's Salem News has more, and the Friday edition reports on some of the other ideas discussed at the meeting. The Citizen has their take here.

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