Several speakers, many of them Hannah parents whose children will be affected by the teacher cuts in 3rd and 4th grade, made their case for preserving teachers and reducing excessively large class sizes at last night's public hearing.
There was also a strong presence of cafeteria workers outside, and several speakers inside asking the committee to reconsider the cuts to their hours and benefits.
Mostly, no new ground was covered, but parents urged the Committee to again revisit some of the proposed cuts that were not made, and strive to find indirect reductions rather than cuts that will affect core curriculum. They asked that the Committee find a way to restore all core teachers, particularly at the high school and elementary schools.
Responding to a previous statement from the Committee that they had spoken with many constituents about their "pet programs," Hannah parent Marie Mallott said that maintaining appropriate class sizes was "not a 'pet program' but rather one of the core tenets of a solid education." She then read from several research papers on the topic.
Prior to opening up the floor to the audience, Dr. Hayes presented a Powerpoint presentation that itemized all the cuts contained in the budget by school or cost center.
Hayes ended by saying of the $2.4 million in cuts: "This is all moving away from what we do today. It's moving away from how we educate kids in Beverly."
At the start of the meeting, Committee president Annemarie Cesa singled out and thanked SBS for our coverage of this year's budget process. Thanks for the recognition, Annemarie.
Today's Salem News, this time, does a pretty good job of getting to most of the points covered at the hearing.
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.