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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tuesday, May 28, 7 PM -- School Committee public hearing on the SPS budget; budget documents available

Dear friends,

The Public Hearing on the FY 2014 Somerville Public Schools Budget will be on Tuesday, May 28th in the Somerville High School Library at 7:00 PM. Anyone who wishes to will have the opportunity to speak for a couple of minutes about the budget or related issues.

Before members of the public speak, the Superintendent will present his recommended budget, put together with extensive input from the School Committee. This is a comprehensive and informative presentation that provides an excellent overview of the school district's goals, programs and activities and a lot of interesting and useful information beyond just the budget. It will be posted online on the Somerville Public Schools website after the presentation.

For your information, the FY14 budget documents have been posted onto the Somerville Public Schools website, Finance & Facilities page There are seven documents posted. If you want a quick overview of this year's budget and the changes from last year, check out Budget Changes to Operations and Salary, which is two pages.

The School Committee will meet again on Thursday, May 30th and is likely to vote on the FY 2014 school budget at that time. The School Committee makes final decisions on what's in the budget and may vote changes to the Superintendent’s recommendations. The School Committee’s recommended budget will then be considered for approval by the Board of Aldermen as part of the entire city government budget process in June.

To update you on the budget process: There has been extensive input from the School Committee and many changes made by the Superintendent as a result. The current working draft calls for a seven percent increase in spending next year, which, if approved by the Board of Aldermen, would continue major improvement in our schools. The current proposed Superintendent’s budget would support:

Ø -- two more pre-K SMILE classrooms, free for all students, for a total of 11 classrooms

Ø -- seven new early literacy playgroups for pre-school families

Ø --expansion of Spanish language instruction to the 6th grade

Ø --- a full-time Coordinator for the Unidos two-way Spanish-English program

Ø --salary increases for teachers and other staff

Ø -- an increase in the Special Education budget

Ø -- additional funds for the successful Somerville Family Learning Collaborative

Ø -- an additional elementary music teacher for strings and percussion.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Mark Niedergang
Somerville School Committee, Ward 5

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