The Belmont School Committee met Tuesday evening to discuss budget options for FY 2010 and possible cuts to school programs in the event that the town does not pass an operational override to patch a structural deficit in the town’s budget and make up for lost local aid from the state.
First the good news: The town has finally completed federally mandated safety changes to the drain at the High School’s Higginbottom pool, which is open again for public use.
In other good news, generous parents have donated $10,000 to the Wellington School for use towards the purchase of technology.
Now for everything else:
School Committee kicked off Tuesday’s meeting with a discussion of the decision by Butler Elementary principal Bruce McDonald to leave his position. The School Committee will be meeting with the faculty and parents to gauge their response and start talking about a replacement.
Much of the rest of the meeting was devoted to a discussion of possible cuts to school programs for FY 2010. For parents interested in voicing concerns about the budget, there will be a public forum to discuss the school budget on February 4th in the Chenery Auditorium. Residents and, especially, Town Meeting members are especially invited to attend.
The School Committee made clear that, on the town’s current fiscal course, deep cuts to school programs will be inevitable in FY 2010. Some of the worst case scenarios include:
- Elimination of elective courses at the High School level (creative writing and public speaking were mentioned)
- Elimination of AP courses (such as Latin) at the High School
- The elimination of JV sports
- The elimination of elementary science education
- Steep cuts across the board in spending for supplies and book purchases
- Curtailing or loss of laboratory science courses
- Steep increase in use fees for all sports