Parents at two struggling schools were worried how help from the district would continue into the new budget and next school year, and now that the budget has been approved, members of the School Committee are still trying to figure it out.
Groundwork for a look at the kindergarten lottery system was laid last week by the School Committee, noting demographic changes in the city and growing interest in language immersion programs. The last review was in 2013.
The School Committee unanimously ratified an agreement Tuesday with units of the teachers’ union that includes the creation of several working groups responding to important issues raised repeatedly over the past two years:
Some city councillors see in the upcoming rebuilding of the Tobin elementary school and Vassal Lane Upper School a way to ensure there’s finally a place to start educating all of the city’s 3- and 4-year-olds.
An “action plan” to address sexual harassment and assault, particular at the Cambridge Rindge and Latin high school and upper schools, received enthusiastic School Committee support last week.
Historically, the district has chosen to make larger price increases less often, instead of incremental changes each year, but several School Committee members hesitated at the size of the increases.
Students opting out of standardized testing got some School Committee support last week, and Cambridge Public Schools Superintendent Kenneth Salim said he is exploring alternatives for the MCAS test, which has a rocky history in the city.
School Committee members passed Superintendent Kenneth Salim’s $183 million budget with praise for its “thoughtfulness” and response to some long-requested pleas – accompanied by suggestions for next year’s budget.
A motion to cap certain class sizes ballooned somehow into an emotional referendum on an entire program, with School Committee members declaiming about staff morale and student “labels.”
Superintendent Kenneth Salim pointed to his budget for ways he intends to provide support throughout the school district, including for behavioral difficulties and where enrollment called for more teachers. But they weren’t in the document, he was told.