For years, EL schools have faced budget reductions to the dismay of school administrators like Principal Michael Susi.
“I don’t have what I need to run this school. I have what [the Boards of Finance and Ed.] are willing to give me,” Mr. Susi said.
This is not the intention of budget reductions, according to the BOF chairman, Camile Alberti.
“We really want to be able to give the [schools] what they want, but we also have to worry about the fiscal health of our town,” Ms. Alberti said.
Mr. Susi feels that past years’ budget cuts have forced him to make decisions that negatively impact students.
“If they make me continue to cut teachers, I can’t provide the same services,” said Mr. Susi.
Margaret Gross, the Math Curriculum instructional manager, feels similarly.
“When I get a squeeze on what classes I am able to offer, I have to push more [students] into the high-level classes because I have to keep the lower-level class sizes down,” said Ms. Gross.
Budget cuts also impact extracurriculars like the marching band.
“We need new equipment. Our uniforms are from the ‘70–s and are deteriorating rapidly,” said band teacher Angelica Fadrowski, who worries the lack of new equipment will deter future enrollment.
Students need to be at school to participate in these classes and extracurriculars, and many students rely on buses to get there.
The late bus being scaled back and the loss of additional bus runs inconveniences EL and Salem students and deters their after-school participation.
“It was incredibly hard for my mom to pick up me and all my siblings in years past. Without the late bus, I probably would have had to walk home every day,” said varsity runner and junior Ben Rukundo.
This worries ELHS administrators.
“I truly believe that our extracurricular programs are key components to making our school so successful. Education is expensive, but [it is] an investment in your children and an investment in our future, and I think we’re losing sight of that,” said Mr. Susi.
The Feb 7. BOE proposed 2020-2021 budget reflects a 5.57 percent increase over the current fiscal year. This will go to a public budget hearing, and the BOF will make the final determination. Budget includes adding elementary teachers, an ELHS social worker and behavior analyst, an instructional technology manager, and restoring the elementary global language program.