By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.
Everett schools opened on Tuesday, August 30 for the new school year, but despite the hiring of 54 new teachers and paraprofessionals across the school district this summer, the Everett Public Schools opened with 97 fewer staff members than were working last year, according to Superintendent Frederick Foresteire, who delivered the sobering news to the School Committee Monday night.
According to Foresteire and Assistant Superintendent Charles Obremski, the 97 fewer positions include 66 teachers and 17 paraprofessionals system wide, as well as six clerical staff and six workers in the custodial field.
“As a result of the new Chapter 70 funding formula, the Everett schools lost over $7 million in funding from the state,” explained Foresteire. “Overall, we actually have $1.2 million less in actual funding dollars from last year, that coupled with scheduled increases in the various bargaining contracts meant that we had to leave those positions unfilled to start the year.”
Foresteire warned the School Committee members to expect phone calls from upset parents who will be seeing classroom sizes increase dramatically over where they were last year.
“We know the class sizes are too big to start the school year,” said Foresteire. “As soon as we can, we will do something about it.
Unfortunately, until the schools are able to identify additional funds, it will be difficult to fund those positions or pay for other programs that students and parents have become accustomed to.
“One of the really disappointing things is that over the last two years we have been making real progress in our MCAS and PARC test scores,” added Obremski. “Unfortunately, some of the programs that are helping us to make that progress have had to be cut for the time being.”