Tonight's School Committee meeting should pull many of the disparate elements of this year's budget cuts into better focus. Unlike 2008 and 2005, when most of the cuts were achieved through the closing of a school, this year's cuts come in smaller chunks, spread across the district. As of the last meeting, many of these proposals still had unanswered questions.
We expect to learn more about what the busing taskforce has found with regard to any potential savings in the transportation department. Could any savings here possibly offset some teacher cuts?
Elementary parents are keenly focused on class size, and hope they have impressed upon the School Committee the importance they put on maintaining reasonable class sizes, even if it means sacrificing some programs.
Unconfirmed word is that the Ayers fifth-grade proposal could be in jeopardy because of at least one family who is considering moving into the district, rather than being pushed out through the open-enrollment plan. We also personally know of one Hannah fourth grader who has moved into the district, but is still counted as part of the open-enrollment plan. Both of these cases illustrate the perils of artificially manipulating class sizes so close to their maximums.
Additionally, we hear that the plan to have high school teachers teach a 6th class (to offset 5 teaching positions that are slated to be cut) has run into union objections.
And we also have been told that food service workers, unhappy with the provision that cuts their hours and benefits, may stage a protest outside the meeting.
The meeting, which begins at 7:00, has been moved to the cafeteria on the lower level of Memorial to accommodate an expected large turnout. All concerned parents should plan to attend.
We have asked Dr. Hayes for any new budget documents he plans to use tonight, so check this site before heading over. If we get it, it will probably be very close to meeting time.
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.