LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WGGB) –It took a lot of rallying to fill the gym at Longmeadow High School with hundreds of concerned community members for the annual town meeting Tuesday night. “We did a lot of outreach to PTOs, a lot of social media, we had Facebook events going, and we had people sharing that information,” said Michael Clark, Chairman of Longmeadow’s School Committee.
All in order to make sure people who were voicing their concerns to him showed up at Longmeadow High School to vote. Across the board budget cuts known as the sequester means the town’s public schools would see less funding next year on both state and federal levels. “We would’ve lost a 7th grade social studies teacher, 2 high school teachers in science, and physical ed teachers, 2 reading assistants, we would’ve lost another $73,000 that has yet to be determined where they would take it from,” Superintendent Marie Doyle stated.
That’s also in addition to slashing writing and music programs.
At first the school committee’s strategic plan said they needed $1.4 million to make sure everything could continue running as is. They went to the select board, and both sides compromised on $353,000. “I think sometimes we only look and numbers and talk about taxes. But behind every single dollar that the citizens give us, there’s a mission that needs to be carried out, and a child that needs to be helped,” she added.
Clark says they’re not adding anything next year, but for fiscal year 2014-2015, if the economy doesn’t improve they’ll likely have to face a similar dilemma.
Superintendent Doyle says Longmeadow public schools are also still in limbo about a special Circuit Breaker program, where the state reimburses some of the money school districts spend on special needs children.
Doyle says if the state cuts funding to that, it could really hurt the district.