Margaret Raymond Driscoll is a nine-year Melrose School Committee member who is passionate about excellent teaching and learning for all public school students, and considers it a privilege to collaborate with others who share that passion. You can also follow her on Twitter at @MargaretDrisc. Just to be clear - opinions expressed here do not represent those of the Melrose Public Schools, the Melrose School Committee, or the Massachusetts Association of School Business Officials - they are hers alone.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

School Committee Meeting of 3/24

Very comprehensive meeting last Tuesday! Here are the highlights from my perspective:

-       Director of Guidance John Buxton and Director of English Angela Singer spoke to the format and timeline of changes to the PSAT and SAT exams. PSAT: * starting in October 2015; * no more Saturdays - schools can now choose between one of two Wednesday offerings; * unknown as to whether the College Board (who produces the exam) will continue to produce the AP Potential Report (designed to predict success in AP classes and can help administrators recommend qualified students). SAT: * starting in Spring 2016; * losing market share to ACT which is seen as being closer to what’s taught in classrooms; * question for high schools is “will implementation of PARCC basically accomplish the same goal as SAT" (i.e. providing standardized test for comparison cross-country)?; * will return to scoring of 400-1600 by making essay separate (and grading that on a 2-8 scale with some colleges declining the use of the essay since it’s not reflective of performance and therefore already not in use); * College Board will offer more on-line prep tools (some in association with Khan Academy) so independent tutoring might be less necessary for success.
-       Middle School Principal Brent Conway and Director of Mathematics Christina Cardella presented their final recommendation for re-alignment of math sequencing from middle school through high school. The goal is improving instruction across the board in math. More substantial training will be provided to middle school teachers on flexible grouping, 6th grade teachers have visited 5th grade classes to experience their process, teachers who’ve experience what they call “live professional development” (co-teaching) is the “best PD they’ve ever gotten,” and teachers in general are excited to learn about this model.  There will be accelerated classes in 7th and 8th grades that will accommodate 20-25% of the grade. Beginning-of-the-year assessments will help determine whether/if any students are misplaced so they can be placed in the correct level. Changes in the scope and sequence should provide a stronger foundation for PARCC success and should also better accommodate changes to the SAT. The Committee approved the recommendation.
-       Principal Conway presented the Middle School Program of Studies that is formatted by grade and lists academic resources and supports. Highlights include: * art is offered at each grade level and there is a complementary art offering of a different medium (e.g. painting) at each grade; * the often overlapping classes of health/wellness and PE/fitness have been eliminated, and in 8th grade, all students will get health and PE similar to the scheduling model used at the high school; * five languages will be offered in middle school (varying to some extent by grade) which is extremely unusual in today’s public schools; * “Exploration” is going away, replaced by organizational skills class or challenge classes that build on core content (e.g. 7th physics for one trimester and civics for 8th graders); * it’s beneficial to give students the opportunity to take a course that’s out of their comfort zone (without risk of low grade that is more difficult in high school) that may surprise students in a positive and rewarding way; * Computer/Digital Literacy classes are sequential and embed the policy and practice of “digital citizenship” (encouraging students’ responsibility for their actions) vs. “acceptable use” (an overseer expecting and enforcing behaviors). Mr. Conway says that the heart of middle schools is finding and participating in things that interest a student.
-       The Superintendent is forming a task force on secondary school start times. The task force is large in order to include as many stakeholder groups as possible. The principals will most likely lead the group and the goal is to come up with recommendations and an action plan (starting with the list of considerations provided by Supt. Taymore) in June. She is reaching out to stakeholder groups for representative members.
-       A revised Student Transportation in Private Vehicles Policy was presented and approved (for the first time). It provides for increased awareness and responsibility on the part of parents and community members who drive students in school-approved programs, and oversight of same by school administrators and faculty advisors. Second vote is expected in April.
-       Changes that have been made to the FY16 budget since the beginning of the process were listed, and the budget calendar was changed to incorporate an April 7th meeting that includes enrollments, athletics, and fine & performing arts.
-       Changes were recommended and approved to the Committee’s norms on how we relate to one another, communicate with the public, govern, conduct meetings, and improve.
-       A letter was sent to the state Board of Education in opposition to Commissioner Chester’s recommendation to increase enrollments at Mystic Valley Regional Charter School by 400 seats. The Board ultimately voted to approve the increase upon MVRCS meeting governance and ELL conditions.

Next meeting is on March 31st and is devoted to the FY16 budget, including middle and high school programs, curriculum and instruction, professional development, English as a Second Language (ESL), and Title I. If you have questions you would like answered by Supt. Taymore, please e-mail fy16schoolbudget@meloseschools.com!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

School Committee Meeting of 3/17

 Last week’s School Committee meeting featured discussions of the elementary school (with all principals presenting) and special education (presented by Asst. Supt. for Pupil Personnel Services Patti White-Lambright) budgets.  Here are the highlights from my perspective (with my notes in italics):

-       We currently enroll 273 students in Kindergarten. Next year’s enrollment to-date is 305 students which means we have space and materials issues. This increase could be a “bubble” but could also be a trend and we don’t yet know. If it’s a trend and we need to add classrooms/teachers as students progress through the schools, we will need to plan for that.
-       The state-funded Kindergarten grant has been cut for the current fiscal year, and is proposed for elimination in the Governor’s FY16 fiscal year budget. (The K grant funds paraprofessionals who support teachers in K classrooms.)
-       The status-quo budget means adding two classroom teachers (at Lincoln and Winthrop), an Academic Interventionist, and another ELL coordinator.
-       The growth budget reflects thinking beyond where we are now and getting to the next educational level for students. It includes adding 1.5 Library Media Specialists, a Social Worker, an Academic Facilitator, an Instructional Coach, a Director of Instructional Technology, and an Inclusion Facilitator.
-       The ELA curriculum is outdated and not aligned with the frameworks, and also needs to be addressed.
-       Ideally, there would be an Instructional Coach in every building. They are well-versed in content and can provide support for content delivery (i.e. an instructional coach can help a teacher perform better teaching by having deep content knowledge as well as understanding the practice of teaching the teacher – kind of like having a prior soccer player coach soccer – the coach must know how to play, as well as delivering understanding of the skills, strategies, and techniques to play effectively).
-       For special education, we currently enroll 549 pre-K through age 22 students in-district, 31 Melrose residents who don’t attend the Melrose schools but receive services in-district (mostly young students), and 38 out-of-district students for a total of 618 students.
-       The largest segment of the special education budget is for students placed out-of-district, and those tuitions continue to increase.
-       The special education budget doesn’t exist by itself, but has elements embedded in many other parts of the budget.
-       Challenges include the extent of social/emotional needs; and the increase in the number of students who need hospitalization, are on the autism spectrum, and are homeless.
-       General education is the first resource for all students, including special education students.

The March 24th meeting was a regular School Committee meeting, with March 31st being the next budget meeting. Please don’t forget to send your budget questions to fy16schoolbudget@melroseschools.com!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Legislators Meet with School Committee: 3/17/15

Prior to last week’s 7:00 Committee meeting, State Senator Jason Lewis and State Representative Paul Brodeur were kind enough to talk with us about this year’s legislative agenda and how it relates to the educational concerns we have in Melrose. (The information we presented to them can be found here: http://1i8brn1xoauz1pwsvo1ktb7vb1q.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/MSC-Concerns-Relative-to-Legislative-Action.pdf.)

Some highlights:

·      The state doesn’t have a spending problem; in fact Massachusetts is under-spending in many areas. There is a revenue problem, primarily caused by legislated cuts to income tax. A graduated or marginal income tax might remedy that situation.
·      Ch. 70 is the biggest issue after healthcare and we need to continue to lobby for improvements to the formula.
·      Re: the FY16 state budget, they recommended focusing advocacy efforts on the smaller accounts, like the Kindergarten and METCO grants, and circuit breaker (reimbursement for special education expenses).
·      Places to focus might include charter schools (understanding that assessment and reimbursement are very significant issues in Melrose), early education, and potentially technology.
·      Technology: input is especially welcomed on ways to use it for distance learning and on-line courses.
·      Snow has started more people thinking about how to design the school calendar and plan for learning time.
 *  How best to advocate? Identify the bills that most apply to Melrose and inform the legislators; provide communication in any areas of interest and/or concern; invite the legislators to return for more discussion and sharing of ideas.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Opening Remarks from Supt. Taymore: Committee Session of 3/10/15

This past Tuesday night, the School Committee hosted a Public Information Session on the Draft FY16 School Budget. It opened with remarks by Superintendent Taymore. Below please find a close accounting of her comments (and/or watch her deliver her remarks at http://www.mmtv3.org/index.php?categoryid=28).

Prior Finance and Facility Subcommittee Chair Carrie Kourkoumelis and Vice-Chair Jessica Dugan, and current Chair Margaret Driscoll and Vice-Chair Chris Casatelli supported our presentation of a budget that portrays what we feel the district needs to continue to grow, as opposed to fitting our budget backwards into what the city believes they have available. This was a bold move by the School Committee and is much appreciated, but an especially difficult move given recent 9C cuts and the Governor’s House 1 Draft Budget that under funds a number of items. Regardless of those circumstances, we look at this as an opportunity to discuss what the system wants to be, what parents want from us for their children, and what you see as the future of the Melrose Public Schools. With that in mind, in my budget message I put forth the idea of two different budgets. One I called status quo plus and the other I called the growth budget. The status quo budget is what we currently do while adding four positions for growth in student population (including classroom teachers at Lincoln and Winthrop, an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher, and an Academic Interventionist that would help equitably distribute student support resources across elementary schools). The second budget is the growth budget. It’s built on 2 ½ years of working in Melrose along with partnering with staff to align the curriculum, improve instructional practices, develop common assessments, and use data to inform our decisions. Focusing always on teaching and learning, these are the positions and the resources we believe we need to continue to grow. Some positions come in the form of classroom teachers but many are positions that help teachers. One of the most important things we do is professional development (PD) for our staff. In order to help your children, we have to help our staff so they can do the best job they can, and PD is the means by which we do that. As we've developed PD offerings, the clear message from staff has been appreciation for the training, but they need help in the buildings (e.g. answering questions like “am I doing it right?” or  “This isn’t working for me - can I have help implementing it as a practice to help students?”). Many positions we're asking for are those on the front lines that help teachers directly.

We are also asking for resources to do that – more money for PD as well as curriculum materials in general. Two years ago, the city was very generous and bonded $480K for new materials. That was just the tip of iceberg. Curriculum changes rapidly and it’s very expensive. We need to keep up, and we need sufficient funding in the budget to keep up. For example, we do one program review of a content area every year. We've done Social Studies, we're now doing global languages, and we rotate through all subjects.  The Social Studies curriculum is 14 years old and we desperately need materials in that area. We need a new K-5 Reading series that is better aligned with the frameworks. We have an obligation to have that in our budget. And then of course we have technology needs. You may have heard the Mayor say he’s looking for the City to take on the burden of the hardware, and that is a fabulous offer and fabulous partnership, but digital licenses and memberships are now approaching a cost of $100K/year. In the budget, we used to have a hardware, software, and license line item totaling $40K/ year. That was obviously inadequate. These are some of the things in the budget we are asking you for.

I want to read something to you that ironically came in to me today. You may or may not be aware that the Commonwealth is undertaking a review of Ch. 70 - the means by which we receive funds – and they've been conducting hearings across the state. The Melrose School Committee submitted testimony (almost everybody I know has submitted testimony) talking about how the formula that was developed in 1993 is no longer adequate. Among the drivers that are making it harder for all of us: health care (despite belonging to GIC), Special Education, the increase in ELL students (also happening across the state and the country), and the negative impact of declining charter school financial offsets. All have a negative impact on the Ch. 70 formula. In testimony submitted today by the Superintendent’s Association, they are supporting a revision of Ch. 70 for more adequate funding. The irony is that when the Reform Act of 1993 and Ch. 70 were created, the formula was designed to provide adequate funding to cities and towns – especially those less fortunate than Melrose. Twenty years later, we are still talking about adequate funding because the funding is no longer adequate. Among the proposals that the Superintendents are making - if Ch. 70 is to be revised - is that additional funding be directed to specific purposes. They outlined eight specific purposes that I’m pleased reflect what I put in my proposal: expand professional development for teachers; hire staff at levels that improve class sizes to support student performance; purchase books, technology, and instructional materials; expand learning time; add subject matter coaches; provide wrap-around services that engage the entire community and families in strengthening the social-emotional support system; provide common planning time for instructional teams; and provide help for ESL/ low-income students. The point is that the things we are asking for are aligned with the needs we’re seeing across the state. There is nothing exhaustive or exclusive in what I am asking for. We’re not just asking for what will put us on a level playing field with some of our colleagues, but what will also position our children to take advantage of their future. The City may or may not be able to do this; that is up to School Committee, the Board of Aldermen, and the Mayor. It is my job to put forward what I think we need. You may or may not agree with me. It is open for discussion. Ultimately the School Committee will set the priorities and make the choices. That is their role.

In the course of all this prep work and many, many conversations, some parents have said to me “what do you want?” I always want what’s best for children, and I know that’s almost cliché, but I happen to have a personal vision for education that has driven me for probably 35 years and I don’t really know if it’s attainable. I used to be a SPED Director, I used to be a general ed teacher, and I used to be an urban educator, so I’ve worked with low income kids, ESL kids, special ed kids, and kids with disabilities. I’ve worked with gifted children, challenged children, children who barely spoke English, and children who were flying through school. The personal vision I have is for the Melrose Public Schools to meet the needs of every child without labeling them; for our staff to have the capacity and resources they need to be flexible, adaptive, and proactive for children, and not to have to say, ”in order to get this child help he has to take a standardized test, or I need to put him in a special class, or I need to make a request.” I would like all of this to happen naturally and organically, and for staff to feel confident that they can make those decisions and they have the resources to do it. Again, I don’t know how realistic that is some days because I live in a world of tremendous regulation. I have a joke that education is now more regulated than gas and oil, and every time I turn around there’s another form, another paper to fill out. I don’t know if you agree with that vision, but what we need to do is hear from you. What do you want us to do? What do you want this system to be? And it has to be a long view. I know as a parent, sometimes you’re very centered on where you are with your child at that stage in life. But the school system in Melrose is Pre-K through 12. Over half of our incoming Kindergarteners are coming from the Early Childhood Center.  We’ve done some very good things in this city, and you have to consider: if there’s only so much money, what are the tradeoffs we need to make? What is the cost effectiveness? And what is the impact for students in the long run? That’s why we’re having this discussion tonight.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

City Wide PTO: 3/10/15

Supt. Taymore opened the meeting by speaking to donations to the schools, and the fact that letters need to come to the district when donations are made so the School Committee can approve them. Gifts should be made to schools, not teachers individually, so it’s clear that items stay at schools should a teacher leave the district.

Sun Associates is the group who is facilitating the Technology Audit and they, in conjunction with administrators, are writing an Action Plan. Both will be presented to School Committee on 4/14, the same night that the Technology Budget will be discussed.

MVMMS Principal Conway will be speaking about math sequencing at the MVMMS PTO tomorrow night.

The Start School Later initiative will be discussed at the 3/24 School Committee meeting, where Supt. Taymore will recommend that a task force be formed to investigate and report out by June. Students have done a survey and then conducted focus groups to validate the survey.

The group offered suggestions on how to make the FY16 school budget more understandable to the community-at-large, like improving understanding around the functions performed by individuals in requested positions and how that work improves education (i.e. what does a library media specialist actually do?). It was also suggested that having a visual (powerpoint-type) presentation with a voice-over to explain how schools work could be useful. Supt. Taymore spoke to some of her budget considerations, including the fact that the amount of change this year in the area of teaching and learning has been good, but that it’s exhausting; having more and different kinds of staff members would allow for faster and deeper improvements. (For example, teachers are participating in a lot of training, but after they have learned something, they really want another set of experienced eyes to watch them employ it and help them improve, and we don’t have enough staff to do that right now.) She also spoke to the fact that the curriculum bond for $400K was very helpful to get materials to current levels, but standards and materials are changing quickly and we need a stream of funding to stay on top of it. In addition, the Governor’s 9C cuts were “scary,” especially since we don’t have a contingency fund. She noted that regardless of where parents are in their own children's academic timeline, they should try to think about the skills they want them to obtain before graduating, and work backwards to determine what financial needs should be addressed to set them up for success at the end. (An example: if you value having a global outlook, that might mean you want to invest in foreign language education, so that’s where you invest some of your budget.) She asked us to think about the system as a whole, that what we should expect is a highly desirable school system that meets all students’ needs without labeling any child since all children deserve to be challenged where they are to have the best possible outcomes. She said “there is no wrong choice [in budgeting funds], just competing choices.”

Dates to remember:
·      School Committee Public Information Session on Fy16 Budget tonight from 7-8:30 p.m.
     Melrose Memorial Blood Drive on 3/14 at MVMMS from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
·      Trivia Bee at Memorial Hall on 3/28 – teams forming now!
·      Engineering Night on 4/9 – more info to come
·      Healthy Melrose Road Race and Family Fun Run on 5/2 to benefit Melrose PTO, Inc.
·      NYT bestselling author Michael Thompson, PhD (http://michaelthompson-phd.com/) to speak 5/7 at 7:00 at MVMMS

Monday, March 9, 2015

School Committee: 3/3/15 Part II

Supt. Taymore announced a grant opportunity (MIDAS) to partner with UMass Boston with the goal to better use data to inform decisions around student achievement and financial operations. It is a five-month pilot and costs $500.

Melrose Director of Planning and Community Development Denise Gaffey indicated that Mayor Dolan has requested that the Aldermen approve a $5.3M bond to fund substantial renovations to Melrose High School, including a complete overhaul of the Resource Center into Learning Commons, and construction of new technology classrooms and a student services suite (that moves Guidance, the Assistant Principals, the Athletic Director, and the Pupil-Personnel Services department to the first floor, with a new entry to that area opposite the Principal's Office). The Learning Commons space is modeled after similar spaces on college campuses and is brighter and more open than the current space. Windows will cover the length of the room facing the hallway and the crow’s nest will come down. There will continue to be books in the space, but significant weeding will occur to ensure that the collection addresses today’s educational needs. Safety of students is paramount and all worker protocols (CORI checks, etc.) will be fully enforced. Upon approval by the Board, the project would go out to bid by September of 2015. Construction would begin during Winter Break, 2015 and continue through mid-August of 2016.

METCO Director Doreen Ward presented an update on Melrose’s METCO program that supports the transporting, education, and support services for 125 students from Boston. Funds for the program have been cut by the state but Melrose will be able to absorb the cuts this year. There is grave concern that the program will be underfunded next year, and Ms. Ward is working with legislators to lobby for stable funding in order to continue the program at its current level and in the same format. Supt. Taymore indicated that some districts are talking about dropping participation in METCO and moving to a School Choice option, meaning that students would still receive education in suburban districts, but they wouldn’t necessarily receive transportation to those districts or educational supports.

Supt. Taymore reviewed the Revenue, Grant, and Revolving Fund Account portions of the FY16 budget (pp. 72-75). E-rate funding is being phased out and the Nutrition class at MHS is being eliminated (due to retirement of the teacher) so those lines are now $0. Music revenue increased due to the addition of 3rd grade wind and brass lessons (although a new law will require the sterilization of school owned musical instruments which may incur expense to the district in the future). Tuitions for School Choice students were budgeted this year. Federal grant funding in all categories is expected to decline next year while facility rentals are expected to increase slightly. At this time, Circuit Breaker (state reimbursement for some Special Education costs) is expected to increase. More information will become available on state and federal funds as those budget decisions are made.

The Committee discussed both FY16 Early Childhood Education (ECC) fees as well as fees for Education Stations. ECC enrollments are around 320 students and capacity has reached maximum levels. The program was just re-accredited, and significant work is being done in the area of curriculum and instruction by Dr. Adams and the entire ECC staff. Fees will stay the same for next year. Supt. Taymore indicated that Education Stations is one the best programs that the district has implemented, having been started by the prior Supt. and Dr. Josephson, and it now supports 670 students in six buildings. Fees will stay the same for Ed. Stations in FY16.

Supt. Taymore reviewed proposed Administration (pp. 43-44) and System Wide expenses (pp. 46-47 of the Budget document). In the area of Administration, the largest budget increase is the addition of an Instructional Technology Specialist, an individual who would “incorporate technology and digital content into teaching and learning.” In the area of System Wide expenses, the Superintendent noted that this year she would be negotiating with four unions and needs an increase of $100K as a contractual stabilization fund. Separately, Melrose pays substitute teachers less than other districts in the area but the district is never sure how much the actual cost will be; MVMMS Principal Conway and MHS Principal Farrell are costing out having one permanent sub in each building. Increases to the computer license budget reflects requested library media resources in addition to on-line needs for the new Graphic Design course at MHS and Engineering course at MVMMS.

There were no budget questions from the community-at-large, but Superintendent Taymore fielded two general questions. First, “What is a Revolving Fund and does it have to be spent all the way down to $0 every year?” Answer: A revolving fund (for example, Athletics) must be established by the Committee and is the one way the district can carry money over to the next year. We used to have more substantial “savings” in them but they’ve been spent down, although we don’t $0 out on anything except e-camp. Second, “What is an offset and what does that mean?” An offset is money from fees collected from Revolving Funds, Grants, donations, etc. that can all be applied against budget needs. (So again for athletics, the money in the Athletic Revolving Account is used to pay for part of the Athletics budget.)

Next session: Tuesday, March 10th in the Aldermanic Chamber from 7-8:30 p.m. It’s a Public Information Session on the budget, so please come and have your questions answered by Supt. Taymore, or provide feedback on elements of the budget!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Budget 101: Presentation and Notes

On Tuesday, 3/3, the 6:00 portion of the School Committee meeting consisted of a Budget 101 presentation designed to support community understanding, reflection, and advocacy around the FY16 school budget process. (You can see the slides here: http://1i8brn1xoauz1pwsvo1ktb7vb1q.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Budget-1011.pdf or watch it on MMTV at http://www.mmtv3.org/index.php?categoryid=28 in the Part 1 section.)

Here are a few notes that may lend context to the presentation:

The school budget is the main way the community ties educational goals to school funding. For example, one of our goals is to “Maximize the value of the teacher contract…” so you will see increases in teacher salaries compared with the FY15 budget. You will also see investments in professional development and administrative salaries in order to ensure that teachers get training, support, and useful and appropriate evaluation so they can keep improving what and how they teach. We seek the greatest value for what we spend, in other words, the best return on our investment.

How do you know that the schools are using your tax dollars for what they promised at budget time? Two ways: financially and programmatically. Financially, at every regular meeting, Director of Finance Jay Picone submits “warrants” (which are actually invoices) for school expenses and the Committee must approve every one for them to be paid. Those payments are posted in summary form in the Monthly Budget Summary, and must also be approved by the Committee so we can see how the money is used properly and that we don’t overspend. Second, when we look at programs (like athletics for example), we make sure our choices at budget time (types of sports, levels like freshman/JV/varsity, etc.) align with expenses. You can find all warrants and Monthly Budget Summaries in our packets on the IQM2 page of the School Committee web site. Programmatically, you can look at documents like School Improvement Plans, Programs of Study (MHS and soon for MVMMS), Codes of Conduct, contracts with collective bargaining units, and/or the web site. An example: last year you heard discussion around the potential hiring of a Fine and Performing Arts Director. The Committee approved that position, so you will see Director DiFruscia’s name in our staff directory and as a separate budget line item with her salary, as evidence of that investment.

How might you think about what you want the budget to direct the Supt. to do?
We have to abide by the law, contractual obligations etc., so we have to provide special education services, pay for legally required teacher training, pay staff members what we’ve promised in their contracts, etc. It’s very difficult to quantify those elements into a number by itself. But we can think about what we as a community value at different school levels (elementary, middle, and high), like arts, athletics, health and wellness, library media services, on-line/blended learning opportunities, foreign language. Do we want more training for teachers? Would we increase what we pay substitute teachers to be able to hire more highly qualified subs? Would we accept more students from other cities and towns to provide more revenue to fund the things we value? How do we see technology fitting into this equation? Would we give up something to get something different?

At the end of this process in late April, the Committee must submit a balanced budget for consideration by the Board of Aldermen. So what do you think makes for a high quality education for your child(ren) and how do you think we should allocate the money in this budget to get as close as we can to that?

More questions? Suggestions? Comments? Please send them to fy16schoolbudget@melroseschools.com or contact your principal, Supt. Taymore, or Committee members. Thank you so much!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Get Involved with the Schools’ FY16 Budget Process!

The School Committee has begun review of the FY16 School Budget, the first draft of which was presented at the School Committee meeting of February 24th by Superintendent Taymore, and feedback/questions are welcomed! Here are some ways to engage in the process:

·      VIEW our Budget Page at http://melroseschools.com/school-committee/budget/ to learn more about the process and timeline.
·      SEND questions to fy16schoolbudget@melroseschools.com; 15 minutes of each School Committee budget meeting has been set aside for Supt. Taymore to address questions.
·      SEND questions or comments by e-mail directly to principals, Supt. Taymore, or Committee members.
·      CALL principals, Supt. Taymore, or Committee members and share your thoughts and/or questions. (Contact information can be found on melroseschools.com.)
·      ATTEND the 3/3 Committee meeting from 6 -7 p.m. in the Aldermanic Chamber of City Hall and hear Budget 101, a presentation designed to support community understanding, reflection, and advocacy.
·      ATTEND the 3/10 Public Information Session from 7 – 8:30 p.m. in the Aldermanic Chamber of City Hall to hear a brief presentation from Supt. Taymore, followed by a Q&A session for her to hear community feedback and address your questions about the budget. You can submit questions in advance or that evening.
·      ATTEND and speak at any public comment portion of School Committee meetings. During budget meetings (3/3, 3/17, 3/31, and 4/14), that portion of the meeting has been moved to a time slot that follows the evening’s budget presentation in order for the community and the Committee to understand the topic prior to inviting feedback and questions.
     ATTEND the Budget Hearing tentatively scheduled for the 4/28 Committee meeting to provide summative thoughts and feedback prior to Committee vote.
     Thank you!