School Budget Update – Harmful Cuts Avoided, Status Quo High Class Sizes Remain

School Budget Update – Harmful Cuts Avoided, Status Quo High Class Sizes Remain

Status Quo Maintained for Next Year

As the FY11 school budget year draws to a close, the school budget maintains the status quo in Hopkinton School fees and programs. Specifically, the proposed budget has the following impacts:

  • Maintains current class sizes, which are already higher than recommended. Class size will range from 20-24 students at the elementary levels and 22 to 23 per classroom at the Middle School.* At the High School, the percentage of classes with over 25 students should remain constant at around 18%. The one exception is 2nd grade, where a new teacher will be added to decrease the class size in 2nd grade next year.
  • Supports Strategic Plan initiatives
    • Full-day kindergarten pilot
    • Virtual learning
    • Curriculum improvements
    • 4.0 Remedial math tutors have been added for FY11 to provide interventions for students
    • Improved district communications
  • Maintains all current curricula and extra-curricular programs, including
    • 5th Grade Instrumental Music
    • Freshman sports
    • Middle School related arts
    • High School guidance staff
  • Maintains all fees at current levels
  • Maintains all special education services

* Please keep in mind that we cannot predict how many new children may move into the district over the summer. Last year 37 new students unexpectedly enrolled in Center School over the summer. Class sizes could increase considerably if this happens again.

Teachers 0% Pay Increase for FY11
In April, the Hopkinton School Committee and Hopkinton Teachers’ Association reached an agreement for a one year contract. Pursuant to that agreement, teachers employed by Hopkinton Public Schools will receive a zero percent pay increase for the 2010-2011 school year. Teachers also agreed to defer step increases until Fiscal Year 2012, and to eliminate a retention bonus teachers receive upon six years of service. For its part, the School Committee agreed to pay teachers a one-time $1200 payment to each teacher. The payment, however, will only be applied to the salary base of the highest step on the teachers’ scale.

Class Sizes are Still High, No Previously Lost Programs Have Been Reinstated Yet
This year’s school budget avoided making harmful cuts to staff and programs that directly affect the quality of our children’s education. But the budget did not enable the district to reinstate programs, services or staff that had been eliminated in prior years’ budget cuts. For example, classes at Center, Elmwood and Hopkins will consist of up to 24 students. Yet the latest research indicates that class size has the greatest impact at the elementary level and recommends class sizes of fewer than 20 students. The research further indicates that the gains are greatest the more years students are in smaller classes and indicates the gains are retained through the upper grades. Smaller class size also helps elementary students more quickly assimilate the rules of school culture, results in more individual attention, increases rates of student participation, reduces class disruptions, and improves children’s self-esteem.

In addition, Hopkinton falls below the state average in per-pupil spending. Based on the latest figures released by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Office of School Finance, Hopkinton’s total per pupil expenditure for FY 09 was $11,560 while the state average was $13,063, a difference of $1,503.

The FY12 Budget Season will be here before you know it. As always, please encourage your friends and neighbors to sign up for Educate Hopkinton blog updates at: http://ehop.org/.