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Special Town Meeting – School Committee members say they support Crabtree’s article creating a stabilization fund for students

  Two School Committee members say they believe Town Manager Scott C. Crabtree’s proposed “Supplemental Student Support Reserve Fund” will aid the School Department in reaching students whose education was adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

  “The stabilization fund is going to help the district stretch every dollar and invest in student achievement after the pandemic. I look forward to the discussion,” School Committee member Ryan Fisher said.

   “The money is targeted, recognizes the extraordinary needs we’re seeing not only as we try to put the pieces back together from the pandemic years, but recognize how much growth we have in front of us.  It’s going to help us get there,” he said.

  The proposed article is one of several measures that will be considered when the 50-member Town Meeting convenes at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 24 in the second floor auditorium at Saugus Town Hall.

  Crabtree said that Gov. Charlie Baker provided additional monies in Chapter 70 funds for public school, amounting to about $3-million for Saugus Public Schools. This money would allow for a variety of educational programs in the school district which are not currently covered by the School Department’s operating budget.

  “The idea is to look at student opportunities through the pandemic,” Crabtree said.

  “Our students in the state fell behind. This money is looked at to try to support those endeavors,” he said. I surveyed and spoken to town meeting members.

  When reached for comment, School Committee Chair Vincent Serino said he “really feels good” about the article.

  “It takes on one of our biggest challenges, how do we get students, who have been out of the classroom for an extended period of time, back up to the level they should be at,” Serino said.

  “This fund will supplement the already great work of our teachers and support staffs,” Serino said.

  “This fund will allow needed monies towards enrichment programs. As well as a supplemental program that will help the students get the extra help they need. This fund will help Saugus as a whole by working towards student achievement,” he said.

  Crabtree said the funds would be used for the following reasons:

  1. To develop and provide enrichment programs outside of the school day, including summer school, evening school, and before and after school programs not currently existing in the school budget.
  2. To deliver at home tutoring for students who have been identified as needing one on one support from a qualified educator.
  3. To procure and administer norm referenced student assessments to identify individual student deficiencies in mathematics and reading.
  4. To develop and implement parent/guardian communication and training programs that will help facilitate student learning and success.
  5. To supplement existing ESL / ELL learners including, but not limited to, materials and properly credentialed staff to support these learners.
  6. To ensure access to technology for students who have been identified as not having such at home.
  7. To develop and implement extended day programs for students as needed.
  8. To develop any program deemed appropriate and proven effective with the goal of bringing about student academic and social recovery from two years of remote learning.

  “In order for the Saugus Public Schools to access these funds the Superintendent and School Committee must submit a detailed plan to the Saugus Finance Committee who will determine that such plans are supplementing current educational programming and not supplanting it, the article says.”

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