Catherine Brunell 0

Kennedy Parents Care - Select Board

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Dear Select Board and Ms. Malone,

Thank you for receiving this letter. We know you are working overtime to help solve this budget gap, and we are grateful that we can share our perspective with you. We write because we have grave concerns about the projected budget shortfall in the Natick Public Schools. We understand that you do not have any direct authority over how the schools spend the money in their recommended budget, but you do have influence over the Town’s budgets as a whole. We urge you to act on the full budget, endorsing a split of Natick’s FY21 approximately $160M projected revenue, which will allow the schools the dexterity needed to make sensible cuts without such impacts as sports, theater, school closures, world languages and especially class sizes.

One of the cuts currently being considered is the elimination of seven Kennedy Middle School positions scheduled for FY21. If this occurs, it results in 7th graders having 28 students per class, including accelerated math, as well as 30 in world languages and other specials. While these numbers are challenging for learning in any year, in this Covid-19 reality, population density is a real concern and space between people is a CDC guideline. These numbers do not make sense, especially now, and similar to the current recommended budget, they are not sustainable.

We ask you as our trusted leaders to find a more balanced, town-wide (school and municipal) approach to share the budget burden. Specifically, can the municipal side temporarily forgo some non-essential services, so that the schools are not left with a budget they cannot absorb. Can we see a list of items that the municipal departments are weighing next to the full set of options the School Committee has considered. In doing this, can we find the middle ground and a better share of Natick’s revenue loss?

As we have written to the School Committee, this is not the time for any decisions to be made that would take us backwards in our investment in schools, nor the time to add density to our classrooms.

Thank you for your leadership during this most difficult year. Many of us are at your meetings. We see you asking hard questions and grappling with the weight of Covid-19’s impacts. We beseech you now to provide us with more information so that we too can understand the alternatives you seek and the best way forward.


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