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, May 25, 2011

Committee Approves FY12 Budget

Without further debate over the specifics, the School Committee tonight approved the FY12 school budget in a series of unanimous votes on each school and cost center. There were no significant changes from the budget that was presented at the public hearing earlier in the month.

Following the vote, there was debate over which items to include in a restoration list, which would prioritize cut items to be reinstated if more money is found in the budget before the start of the next school year.

The restoration list previously suggested by Superintendent Galinski is as follows:
  • Elementary Teachers to Centerville grade 3 and Hannah grade 5
  • TLC teachers to 5 elementary schools
  • Reading coach for Hannah & North Beverly
  • Guidance Counselor at BHS
  • Add to the special education contingency
  • Add administrative support for HR
The committee debated this list with the intention of voting on an official list of priorities.  

President Annemarie Cesa pushed for the elementary teachers, but Karen Fogarty asked whether the committee wanted to set a precedent of adding back teachers when a class is within the district guidelines.  Paul Manzo suggested putting the money for the teachers in a contingency fund to be added back only if a class rises above the district maximum of 30 before September.

Kris Silversteen argued for adding back teachers to the TLC program as a more pressing priority. Such a move would be trickier, however, because unless enough money was found to add back all 5 that were cut (one from each elementary school), a choice would need to be made as to which school had the greater need.

In the end, the committee declined to vote on an official list, instead instructing Superintendent Galinski to consult with each building principal for their list priorities for restoration at their school.

So ends another budget season that saw further cuts to school programs, and more class size concerns, but one that fell far short of the dire situation many expected, and lacked much of the drama of recent years.

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