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, April 6, 2011

Class Sizes Again on the Rise

Dr. Galinski has provided us with latest enrollment and class size projections that the working FY12 budget is based on.

We highlighted the incoming Briscoe 6th grade and several high 3rd grade class sizes in an earlier post, but the full projections show even more widespread areas of concern.

In addition to the incoming 6th grade at Briscoe, classes of 27 or higher are projected for grade 3 at all schools across the district, except Cove, as well as grades 4 and 5 at Hannah.

Highs approaching the district maximum of 30 are seen in the 3rd grades at Hannah and Centerville (29.5), the 6th grade at Briscoe (29.4), the 5th grade at Hannah (29), and the 3rd grade at North Beverly (28.5).

On the linked spreadsheet, the green highlights represent a change in staffing level from this year.
  • Ayers -  add 1 teacher to grade five
  • Centerville - take away a teacher and up the class size Gr. 3
  • Hannah - take away a teacher and up the class size Gr. 5
  • North Beverly - take away a teacher and up the class size Gr. 3
Galinski has proposed adding full-time student teachers from the Merrimack College Education Fellows program to mitigate some of these large classes.  She also cautions that these numbers are still evolving, especially the Pre-K and K numbers.

The full-day kindergarten numbers shown are relatively low, in part because of the Committee's earlier decision (against the initial objections of some members) to add a full day section at North Beverly.

An article in last week's Beverly Citizen provided a pretty good overview of the current budget negotiations.

Galinski says there should be updated projection figures in time for next Wednesday's School Committee meeting.

4/7 UPDATE: This week's Beverly Citizen has some new details on the most recent budget meeting, including high school pricipal Sean Gallgher's request to restore some of the teaching positions that have been cut in previous years and that are forcing more students into study halls.
At the March 30 meeting, Beverly High School Principal Sean Gallagher said the high school needs an additional foreign language teacher next year. He explained that next year will be the first year students will be required to take two years of a foreign language as part of the new Common Core State Standards, which were previously adopted by the district, and as a result the school’s foreign language class sizes is expected to increase.

“We don’t have enough teachers to cover [that],” Gallagher said.

Gallagher added that the school is trying to reduce the number of students in study halls in order to maintain accreditation, and this would help address that issue as well.

“We need to start replacing some of the high school staff back to maintain a quality education,” Gallagher said, pointing to cuts at the high school in previous year.
The School Committee will meet next Wednesday, April 14 to further discuss the FY12 budget.

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