The school district is part of a trend of increasing poverty rates, as discussed during Tuesday’s School Committee meeting at Everett High School.
According to the Mass. Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (MDESE), 79.06 percent of Everett students are identified as low income to the state average’s 42 percent.
“That’s not a static number and does change over time,” Superintendent of Schools Priya Tahiliani said. “The pandemic has caused a global economic crisis that has exacerbated poverty.”
Tahiliani said many households have four to five students living in one household, and that could include multiple families living together to make ends meet.
The numbers are slightly up from last year’s 74.40 percent. In 2020-2021, 61.10 percent of Everett’s students were identified as low income. In 2017-2018, the number was even lower at 50.80 percent. The state’s average was 32 percent back then.
Tahiliani said low-income students are four times more likely to miss 10 percent or more of eligible school days, defined as chronic absenteeism, than peers who aren’t in that category. She added that could also affect MCAS scores, which she will discuss at the February meeting.
“Our students and staff do the best that they can each day, but we do want to remain cognizant of these numbers,” Tahiliani said.
Ward 3 School Committee member Jeanne Cristiano said those figures are alarming.
“I’d like everybody to take another look at that slide,” Cristiano said. “Now 80 percent of our kids are coming from really low-income homes.”
Cristiano said they need to come together to come up with more solutions since she said they owe so much to those young men and women.