Dear Newton Legislators:
Like school districts across the state, the Newton Public Schools are facing a fiscal crisis at the same time as we are experiencing a growth in both regular and special education students. In FY 10 there was a 10% ($3 million) revenue loss from cuts in state aid including a severe cut in the Circuit Breaker funding. This follows several years of staff and program reductions when the cost of contractual and legal obligations exceeded budget increases.
We need your help to prevent the erosion of our schools' educational quality by supporting Governor Patrick's proposal to level-fund state aid for FY11. The Circuit Breaker funding needs to be restored to 2008 levels just to meet minimum special education needs (an additional 1.5 million dollars). Understanding that resources are limited, we also urge you to fight for new tax revenues and reforms focusing on permanently reducing healthcare costs by removing healthcare plan design from the collective bargaining process.
The School Department is working hard to achieve savings and promote efficiency without losing effectiveness. Parents are raising money to pay for much-needed supplies and technology and lending helping hands in the classrooms and school libraries. Yet still we are looking at a budget shortfall. Our schools desperately need state funds to avoid decimating programs that are critical to our children.
The Governor's proposal won't return the $3 million we lost last year, but it would avoid further erosion for next year. For the Newton Public Schools, this means receiving about $1.4 million from local aid.
We urge you to continue to fight for our community as you have done in the past by advocating for funding, revenue producing and reform measures to help preserve our children's education through this very difficult financial time.
Thank you for your support.