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Unused educational money

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Saugus Public Schools could benefit from a special reserve fund that Town Meeting approved in 2022


By Mark E. Vogler


The School Department has access to $3-million sitting in a special account, waiting to be used to help the education of students who have been hindered by COVID-19 and the days of remote learning.

“Hopefully the School Department will bring proposals before the Annual Town Meeting that are consistent with the goals Town Meeting established to help students recover academically and socially for two difficult years,” Precinct 10 Town Meeting Member Peter Manoogian said recently.

“Over three million dollars was set aside in 2022 for this purpose. The money cannot be used to fund pay raises, buy walkie talkies, or reduce or eliminate user fees. The money is there to help students recover from a loss of learning during the pandemic,” he said.

Manoogian was referring to the Supplemental Student Support Reserve Fund that was introduced by Town Manager Scott C. Crabtree at a Special Town Meeting in the fall of 2022 and approved by Town Meeting members.

Crabtree said that then-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.

Manoogian, a retired educator and former Saugus School Committee member, did some groundwork on the article that Crabtree authored:

To see if the Saugus Town Meeting will, vote under the authority provided by Massachusetts General Law Chapter 40 Section 5B, to create a targeted stabilization fund known as the Supplemental Student Support Reserve Fund and to raise and appropriate a sum of money for deposit into such fund for the following purpose(s):

  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

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