The School Committee approved Fiscal Year 2024’s operating budget, 8-0, in the amount of $124,007,902 plus $4,604,462 for Special Education Transportation and city chargebacks in the amount of $28,635,378 during Monday’s School Committee meeting at Everett High School.
According to Assistant Superintendent of Finance Anu Jayanth, the one amendment that occurred after a March budget meeting was to add an Everett High School theater teacher, amounting to $85,000. Theater teachers were also added to elementary schools. Previously, George Keverian was the only elementary school that had a theater teacher. “We anticipate having a larger enrollment in the theater program, as a result,” Jayanth said.
Mayor Carlo DeMaria asked what the director of special projects and strategic planning would be doing. “Those are positions for next year, with a July 1 start date,” Jayanth said. “One of the main job functions is to track key performance indicators around all our different processes, but the job description has that more fleshed out.”
DeMaria asked if it would be different than what a procurement officer would be doing. She responded that the position is totally different. Job descriptions were provided at the last School Committee meeting. DeMaria also asked her to provide vacancies of unfilled positions.
“We don’t expect to have any surplus at the end,” Jayanth said. “We provide monthly reports to the superintendent.”
He asked Jayanth if they’re not able to find classroom space to rent, what would happen to the $3 million. If they don’t spend the $3 million, they’d utilize that money for another necessity. The district has to hire 21 social workers, and they may contract them out, which would be more expensive.
School Committee Vice Chairperson Michael McLaughlin asked how many new positions does administrative salaries going up $100,000 entail. Jayanth said the new positions are in the booklet, decreasing the supply line item by $85,000.
School Committee Member-At-Large Samantha Lambert asked her colleagues to support an amendment moving $22,000 from the legal fund to the School Committee for the purpose of policy. The amendment passed, 8-0.
Lambert also explained that security, which is included in the budget, at the elementary school level would be checking guests in at the doors, not necessarily walking the halls.
School Committee Chairperson Michael Mangan said there was an incident at last year’s Lafayette School’s moving on ceremony, where a student had a restraining order against a parent, who attended the graduation. The Moving On ceremony got delayed, because there wasn’t proper security at the doors to enforce visitors. “This is probably a good example of something like that happening,” Mangan said. “Everett Police came down, and it eventually got resolved.”
Ward 5 School Committee Member Marcony Almeida-Barros recommended favorable action on passing the budget, which was seconded by Ward 3 School Committee Member Jeanne Cristiano.