WEYMOUTH — Superintendent Jennifer Curtis-Whipple reports that the Weymouth School Committee and Budget Sub-Committee will meet tonight to discuss the district’s FY21 revised budget proposal.
The options outlined by the revised proposal, presented at a meeting with the Town Council on Tuesday, May 5, will be further reviewed and discussed.
The proposal outlines a number of cuts district wide that will help to stabilize the budget, as an alternative to closing the Thomas V. Nash Jr. Primary School next fall. This includes cuts to IT improvement projects and pausing the expansion of the district’s 1:1 Chromebook initiative.
The district had originally proposed shuttering the Nash School, which has the town’s lowest enrollment, to close the budget gap. District leadership backed away from that plan in response to public comment.
In addition, in the revised proposal, the full-day kindergarten program is suggested to become a one-year pilot program for FY21 and to be fully funded using funds in a specially earmarked revolving account. It remains the intention of administration and the school committee to fund free full-day kindergarten for FY21 as it has been planned and budgeted by the district and over 400 families have signed up.
The proposed one-year pilot program would then be re-evaluated for FY22 and there would be no expectation to continue the fully funded program beyond the pilot year if the financial climate does not rebound.
At tonight’s meeting, the committee will also discuss a number of other budget reduction options that are outlined in the revised proposal.
The committee will also consider a possible resolution in support of increased federal funding for schools. The resolution urges the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation to approve additional federal funding as relief for public school districts that have faced budget shortfalls due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We continue to plan and consider all viable options and alternatives to address the funding gap in the face of this unprecedented time. We thank the parents of our district, our staff and community members for their patience as we consider these difficult decisions,” Superintendent Curtis-Whipple said. “We assure parents and residents that each aspect of the budget will continue to be thoroughly reviewed and discussed. No matter the circumstances, our top commitment is always to maintain high-quality instruction for our students and provide the educational resources they need to succeed.”
Following tonight’s meeting, district leadership and the Town of Weymouth will work to finalize the plans to alleviate the FY21 budget gap.
The district also hosted a virtual open forum Wednesday afternoon for parents of the Nash School to discuss the latest information regarding the school and budget impacts. It was announced on Monday, May 4 that the school will not be closed.
“We are appreciative of our Nash parents who participated in the forum and have provided their feedback throughout this process,” Superintendent Curtis-Whipple said. “The feedback we received today regarding the future of the school as well as potential budget impacts will be discussed at future budget sub-committee meetings. It was greatly appreciated how many community members attended the open forum.”
To view the agenda and Zoom information for tonight’s meeting, click here.
To view a copy of the revised FY21 budget proposal, click here.