The School Committtee will again discuss cost savings options next Tuesday, May 4 at 7pm. The meeting will be held in the meeting room at Memorial.
On the agenda is further discussion of the ideas presented at the last meeting, many of which are detailed in the previous post. We also hope to hear more about bus savings options, which were discussed in some detail, then at the suggestion of the Mayor, referred to a special task force for further study.
Not much has been said publicly since the last meeting, but in a memo sent home to elementary parents this week, Dr. Hayes gave some more details on the idea of selectively denying open enrollment requests, which he estimated as saving over $200,000. The memo says that the only affected grades would be 3rd, 4th & 5th at Hannah, and 2nd at Cove.
The idea is that by returning open-enrolled students in those grades to their home school, a class could be eliminated at each grade-level.
So at Hannah for instance, under the current alignment there are 3 classes with an average of 20 students in each of the 3rd grade classes. If the open-enrolled students were returned to their home schools, a class could be eliminated next year, but it would put each of the classes at or near the maximum of 30 students. It would also add to the class sizes at those students' home schools.
Hayes states in the memo that although no formal decision has been made, that it looks likely the Committee will support this proposal.
While 30 students is the official maximum set by the district (as well as the state maximun, we believe), the prospect of three consecutive elementary grades at such a high class size is a concern to many Hannah parents.
Tuesday's meeting is a working meeting, and therefore the audience will not have an opportunity to speak, so, as always, please contact your school committee rep with your thoughts, beforehand.
UPDATE We'll try to find some updated research on this, but here is what we posted two years ago about class sizes in Beverly compared to other communities, and research on the effects of class sizes on elementary education.
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.