School Committee Sends Letter To Beacon Hill Opposing Cuts To Kindergarten Expansion Programs

WILMINGTON, MA — Wilmington School Committee member M.J. Byrnes, the committee’s Legislative Representative, recently sent the below letter to House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, expressing the Committee’s opposition to Governor Baker’s proposed elimination of the kindergarten expansion grant program.

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Dear Senate President Stanley Rosenberg,

As the legislative representative on behalf of the Wilmington School Committee, Wilmington, MA, I am writing to you today to ask for you to reconsider Governor Baker’s recent budgetary position proposing the reduction of funding for educational line items, especially the Kindergarten Expansion Grant Programs.

As you are aware, Massachusetts public schools are at a critical and transitional time in education. With the creation of new curriculum to meet the new standards, along with a new assessment tool being considered, all done without financial support from the state, we cannot afford to take another huge hit in budgetary cuts that will impact our students, especially our youngest learners. Districts like ours have continually been creative in budgetary planning to meet the high level of quality programs and supports that our teachers and students need and deserve. It’s imperative that we give our students every opportunity to master the increasing demands of learning, which can only be done in a full day program.

The lack of adequate resources for these demands continually compromises and risks the quality of programming within our schools and our student’s achievement. The possible implication of such a recommendation has Wilmington trying to determine how we will find $132,000 in an already tight budget. Among the different options many districts may have to consider, perhaps even Wilmington, are possible staff layoffs, which will increase classroom sizes, as well as, stunt the continuing development and expansion of technology initiatives to support many of our STEM programs.

Each year districts continually face new unfunded or underfunded mandates and regulations from DESE, all in the name of student achievement.  Coupled with this and insufficient Local 70 funding, the addition of significant proposed budgetary reductions to the Circuit Breaker accounts and homeless transportation, to name a few, only cripple our districts further. We ask for your support, and that of your fellow Senators, to continue to support Public School Districts by continuing to fund necessary education programs and initiatives, such as the Kindergarten Expansion Grant.

Sincerely,

MJ Byrnes

Wilmington School Committee Members: Peggy Kane, Ginny Bonish, Steve Bjork, Manny Mulas, Julie Broussard & Kathleen Carroll

cc: State Senator Bruce Tarr

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