Statement to School Committe on FY14 Budget — April 4, 2013

Good evening.  My name is Ellen Gibson and I live at 41 Vernon Street in Newton Corner.

First, I want to thank and congratulate the School Committee, the Superintendent and the Mayor for your hard work on the override.  The success of the override is a testament to the credibility with the community that you all have worked hard to establish.  I also want to thank the Mayor for his partnership with the schools and the School Committee and his commitment to education.

This is a terrific budget.  Everyone on the School Committee, David Fleishman and his staff including Sandy Guryan and her team worked hard long hours to develop and implement System Wide Goals and Budget Guidelines that reflect our commitment to providing every child with a 21st century education.  This budget reflects the investment that we need to make in our schools and in our students.  I am particularly impressed with the long-range planning that has been done around enrollment and facilities needs so that we are looking at the upcoming fiscal year and the next five years.

I am also impressed with the changes being made within our Special Education Department to address the needs of our students with identified special education issues in a more comprehensive and efficient way.  The reorganization plans at the elementary schools, new programing at the middle school level, and the district-wide tracking of trends makes clear that we are making great strides in the area of Special Education.

And there is still exciting work ahead of us.  Social and emotional learning is a vital part of our regular education commitment to all of our students.  I am particularly enthusiastic about the commitment that the School Committee and the administration have made to educating the whole child.  Both the System Wide Goals and the Budget Guidelines — which are the basis for this budget –reflect that commitment. It is my hope that we will continue to talk about and make a priority the importance of embedding social emotional learning in all of our classrooms because we recognize that it is an integral part of every child’s 21st century education.