“We’re going to lose teachers,” School Committee member Jack Kessler told an assembly of parents last night. “The question is how many.”
About 50 Southborough residents — mostly parents — were gathered at Woodward for an information session on the school budget hosted by Superintendent Charles Gobron. Southborough School Committee members were also in attendance.
Gobron detailed the bleak budget outlook for next year. The preliminary FY2011 budget for the K-8 schools represents a 3.63% increase over this year’s budget, but even with the increase the budget calls for the elimination of six teaching positions along with 3.5 staff and support positions.
The selectmen have asked the school to get down to at least a 0% increase, which Gobron said would mean the reduction of an additional 10 teaching positions.
While reaction to the preliminary budget on this blog has been decidedly mixed, the crowd at last night’s information session was largely sympathetic.
Kessler explained that while town meeting voters cannot increase the budget that is approved by the school committee, they can decrease it. That puts the schools at risk, he said, because when it comes to town meeting representation, parents are in the minority compared to seniors.
“Because they don’t show up,” school committee member Marybeth Strickland said. “There weren’t a lot of parents in the crowd last year,” she said. “It wasn’t parents that supported our budget last year, it was seniors.”
But Strickland and Kessler said this year they may not be able to count on the support of seniors. “Unless parents organize and come out and support the schools, the consequences will be more dramatic,” Kessler said.
A separate information session was held yesterday morning at Woodward. Gobron told me about 50 residents, including some members of the Advisory Committee (the town’s financial board), attended that session. If anyone has a report from the morning session — or a different take on the session last night — please leave it in the comments.