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.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

FY14 Budget Highlights

A public hearing on the FY14 will be held Tuesday night at 7pm in the auditorium at Beverly High School.  The draft budget can be viewed here. Today's Salem News has a brief summary.

The administration list the following changes in staffing, operating budgets, programs and revenues. The changes in staffing result in a total increase of 8.9 full-time equivalents.

A. Positions/Adjustments
  1. At the district level (effective FTE changes = +1.0)
    • Add .5 nurse at Memorial to oversee the preschool classes. ($22,000) This is actually a full time position shared with Recovery High School.
    • Add a .5 K/PreK position due to increase in enrollment ($25,000)
    • Health Insurance increase due to loss of grant funding ($100,000). No increase in premium cost for FY14.
  2. At the elementary level (effective FTE additions = +4)
    • At Ayers Elementary School
      • Increase 1FTE in Grade 1 due to projected enrollment
    • At Centerville Elementary
      • Increase 1 FTE in Grade 1 due to projected enrollment.
      • Decrease 1FTE in Grade 2 due to projected enrollment
      • Decrease 1FTE in Grade 4 due to projected enrollment
      • Increase 1 FTE in SSP classroom (position repurposed)
    • At Cove Elementary School
      • Increase 1FTE in Grade 1 due to projected enrollment
      • Decrease 1 FTE in Grade 3 due to projected enrollment
      • Increase 1 FTE in Grade 4 due to projected enrollment
      • Increase 1 FTE in Full Day K due to projected enrollment
    • At Hannah Elementary School
      • Increase 1 FTE in Grade 4 projected enrollment
      • Increase 1 FTE in Grade 1 projected enrollment
      • Increase in 1 FTE Literacy Coach (parity with other schools)
      • Decrease 1 FTE in Full Day Kindergarten (to North Beverly)
    • At North Beverly Elementary School
      • Increase 1 FTE in Full Day Kindergarten (from Hannah)
  3. At the middle school: (effective FTE additions = +.5 FTE)
    • Add a teaching 6th for Foreign Language to reduce class size in Reading ($8,500)
    • Add .5 School Adjustment Counselor to support transition of student from grade 8 to 9.
  4. At the high school: (effective FTE additions = +3.4 FTE)
    • Increase .4 FTE Nurse at BHS for 3 hours a day to cover medication administration ($18,900)
    • Increases 1 FTE in Science (Physics) to align with Common Core for labs ($50,000)
    • Increase 1 FTE PE/Wellness Teacher to reduce class size ($50,000)
    • Increase .5 FTE Music Teacher to reduce class size ($25,000)
    • Add .5 FTE School Adjustment Counselor to support transition of students from grade 8 to 9.
B. Operating Budgets
  • Operating budgets are level funded for FY14.
  • Project a 4% increase in utilities.
  • Project a 3% increase in special education collaborative tuitions.
  • Health Insurance rates are level funded.
  • Loss of $100,000 from Edujobs grant in FY13; grant ended.
  • Provides for a 1.5% salary increase for union contracts.
  • Provides for an average salary increase of 3% for Principals and Central Office Administration.
C. Program
  • Upgrade of the Briscoe and Elementary School Networks to support more one to one learning
  • Movement of 3.5 preschool classes to Memorial Building
  • Added funding for social emotional support for Middle and High School students with social/emotional needs.
  • Tuition and fees increased by 2.5 % except: Transportation, Athletics, Kindergarten.
  • HS parking reduced to $100.
D. Revenue
  • Plan for an increase in the General Fund Revenue from the City to $1,100,000 (an increase of 1% over FY13)
  • Project a 70% level of reimbursements for the Circuit Breaker program This will result in an increase of about $211,355
  • Increase in school choice revenue by $4,976
  • Increase in Chapter 70 Funding ($108,375) 
Elementary class size concerns appear less of an issue, and slightly more uniform than in past years.  Highest class size projections are in the 4th grade at Centerville and Ayers (27.5 and 28 respectively).

The only controversy we have heard about centers around the issue of school security at the elementary schools, which is being pushed by a group of parents at North Beverly and Hannah.  They have circulated an email to parents saying that security at the schools is less than it should be, and asking the school committee to "include funds for more security at our five elementary schools."

BevCam will televise the hearing live on Channel 8.

5/15 UPDATE: Today's Salem News has a report on the public hearing.