Dr. Lisha Cabral, Superintendent
50 Oliver St.
North Easton, MA 02356
For Immediate Release
Monday, April 29, 2019
Media Contact: Benjamin Paulin
Easton Public Schools Superintendent Lisha Cabral Provides Budget Update
Clarification Provided on Elimination of Fourth Grade In-Class Music Lessons
EASTON — Superintendent Lisha Cabral would like to provide parents and residents with an update on the school district’s FY20 budget and offer a clarification in regard to the decision to eliminate providing instrument instruction lessons to fourth grade music students during the school day.
It should be noted that the fourth grade music students will still have their regular music classes and the fourth grade music program is not being eliminated. In addition, the fifth grade instructional lessons will not be impacted at this time.
In the current budget, only a weekly 30-minute music instrument lesson, in which some fourth grade students are pulled out of core classes, has been cut. That program remains in place for fifth graders. All other programming, including music classes, remain untouched except for some high school sections due to low enrollment next year. This is a process that is done each year in every department after high school students complete their course selections for the upcoming school year.
“The music department at the Easton Public Schools has long been a source of pride and excellence for the town. While we will be eliminating the weekly instrument lessons for fourth graders, we believe we can continue to offer the same great music education to our students while also avoiding having to make cuts that impact the rest of the student body,” Superintendent Cabral added. “To those parents who are most concerned about their child losing a portion of their music time, the district hosts several music instructors who provide private lessons after school throughout the week for a fee.”
On Thursday, April 25, the Easton School Committee unanimously voted to approve the budget put forth by Superintendent Cabral and the district leadership team. The budget calls for a 2.5% increase from last year’s budget. If approved as part of the town’s budget at Town Meeting, the school budget would increase by $1,033,258 to $42,363,566 for FY20.
“As many know, this has been a difficult budget process with multiple rounds of cuts needed in order to bring the budget to the table. Like all school districts in the state, we are burdened with significant cost increases year-over-year, some of which are mandated and out of our control. The cuts made were necessitated by many factors, including a charter school assessment of over $400,000 from the state this year,” Superintendent Cabral said. “Each difficult decision that has been made was done so after careful consideration and trying to limit the impact these decisions have on all of our students and staff. While making decisions to cut particular items is never something a school district wants to do, we feel we have put together a balanced budget that would have the least impact on our students and the learning environment we provide.”
Other budget cuts that the district has made includes the loss of five teacher positions through attrition, the loss of two library positions, reduced hours for four library positions and reducing the hours of music department employees by 1.4 Full-Time Equivalence.
“Throughout the course of this budget process and based on the need of creating a balanced town budget, we have had to reduce the school budget three times, each time having to make difficult decisions,” Superintendent Cabral said. “Our plan to hire a second full-time adjustment counselor for the elementary schools has been cut. We began the budget process planning to hire a full-time English language teacher. That position was then made part-time and has now been cut entirely in the newest budget. We will also have to forgo hiring reading specialists at the high school and Pre-K-2 levels. Ultimately, we are not adding any new positions to the school department this year, as of now. The needs of the district are based upon the needs of the students and those can change daily and weekly and we must adjust accordingly. So unfortunately there are impacts that will be felt across the district, not just the music department, and everyone will have to come together to make it work for the well-being of our students, faculty and staff.”