By Steve Freker
The Malden School Committee on Monday night voted unanimously to approve a Fiscal Year 2024 budget of $90,907,407 for the Malden Public Schools, which city and school officials have indicated will provide a complete and positive learning environment for the city’s public schools in the 2023-2024 academic year. Malden Public Schools is receiving an increase of approximately $12 million from last year’s school budget – nearly 11 percent – due to the allocation from the city.
The full budget, including the approximately $91 million for the schools, must still be approved by the full City Council. That vote is expected at the June 27 City Council meeting. The FY24 city and school budgets go into effect beginning July 1.
This is believed to be one of the largest single-year increases in municipal history – up $8.8 million from last year’s final municipal allocation of $82.1 million.
At a School Committee meeting earlier, Assistant Supt. Toni Mertz explained that the Malden Public Schools proposal that her department and central administration had formulated for the city’s allocation totaled $88.6 million. “This would not have happened without the efforts of our state delegation for the state funding portion and the Mayor’s Office in providing the recommended allocation,” Assistant Supt. Mertz said.
Initial plans for the expenditure of the additional funding that is expected to be available to the Malden Public Schools included:
- Building monitors: all schools.
- School culture officers: all schools.
- Adjustment counselors: in some schools where needed.
- Spanish teachers: Linden and Ferryway Schools.
- Wilson Reading: Forestdale School.
- Registered Behavioral Technician (RBT): Ferryway School.
- Assistant Principal: Forestdale. (There has been only one for several years.)
- Administrative Assistant: Forestdale School.
- STEM Teacher: Forestdale School.
- Math Teacher: High School.
- Health Teacher: High School.
- English Learner Coach: District.
“These are all staffing additions to the classrooms,” Superintendent Dr. Ligia Noriega-Murphy said at that meeting. “We need ‘boots on the ground’ to support our existing staff and students and that is what we would be doing here.”
The new staffing would encompass the entire school district, Ward 5 School Committee member Adam Weldai noted. Weldai, before the budget presentation, spoke on work already underway to address needs at the Early Learning Center (ELC). Meetings have been held with staff and ELC Principal Tamara Lawrence, he said, and plans are in place that would increase staffing in the form of seven new RBT personnel, the addition of a new classroom, the return of a full-time Program Manager, the addition of a building monitor and other additions.
A detailed breakdown of the school budget for FY24 is available on the City of Malden website (www.cityofmalden.org) or on the Malden Public Schools website (www.maldenps.org).