Catherine Brunell 0

Kennedy Parents Care - School Committee

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Dear School Committee Members and Dr. Nolin,

We see the enormous budget gap that you are wrestling with and how hard you are working during this unprecedented public health crisis! The TA's recommended numbers will not allow you to serve our children or our town in the ways that are needed.

We wrote to the Town Administrator and the Select Board demanding a different split of the approximately $160M projected revenue between the municipal and schools budgets. We believe our schools’ budget is too lean to absorb a $4.6M shortfall. To understand what an ideal split could be, we urged them to show us a list of options on the municipal side that we could weigh against the options you have presented.

We write to you now with this support, and to give input about one of the options the school committee is weighing; specifically, the loss of seven positions at Kennedy Middle School. At your most recent meeting, you listed losing an entire team of teachers resulting in 7th graders being 28 per class, including accelerated math, and 30 in world languages and other specials. While these numbers are suboptimal for learning in any year, in this Covid-19 reality, population density is a real concern and space between people is a CDC guideline. We understand that you are currently in discussions about reopening scenarios; larger class sizes must be something you are trying to avoid.

That said, would Kennedy need to absorb this amount of teacher furloughs or fires alone? If a certain number of positions must be cut, could you spread them across the district so that one school, and one grade especially, would not shoulder the bulk of the burden. Living through the horrific impacts of this virus, we believe the best mantra to hold now is more space, more teachers, more options.

Thank you for dedication to our schools, for the hours you spend pouring over these numbers and for putting out more options for us to consider. Like you, we are confident that there is a way out of this shortfall that does not impact kids in the initial proposals. We will continue to work to find a way out of this gap.


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