Next year’s total cost for out-of-district tuition for special education students is expected to rise $2.5 million, to $14 million, and the assistant superintendent in charge has admitted there’s no handle on why the need for the program is going up.
Of 27 parents speaking at a School Committee budget hearing, most asked for more help in supporting diverse classrooms in terms of ability, race, income and needs, including classes that have been shaken by social-emotional behavior issues.
The education budget “gap” for next year has dropped to $3 million from $5 million, but a Tuesday discussion raised many more questions about guidelines for immediate concerns and goals for the future.
Administration members signaled cautious optimism that although the gap is relatively high, they will be able to bring the numbers closer.
The newly sworn-in School Committee held its first meeting, spending considerable time discussing issues related to student testing, leading to motions to convene a “community discussion” in February and to reverse a vote okaying use of the PARCC test.
The new School Committee was sworn in Monday evening and, with the swift election of E. Denise Simmons as mayor at that morning’s City Council inaugural meeting, made Cambridge history in having five of its seven members being women.
The School Committee voted 4-3 on Tuesday to switch to the PARCC test within three months, surprising many after a unanimous vote in May to halt its implementation and proceed “with a community-wide forum” on standardized testing that never took place.
The School Committee has finalized negotiations with Kenneth Salim, their chosen candidate for school superintendent, Mayor David Maher announced Tuesday.
More than 200 people packed a Sunday community meeting about recent security threats to Cambridge schools, as city, school and federal officials tried to calm anxieties with an update that they have growing confidence the bomb and gun threats are a hoax.
Upper school family liaisons, more recess and more support for high school clubs were among the concerns heard from parents and high school students at the first budget hearing of the school year with new co-chair Kathleen Kelly.