Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Cambridge Public Schools, such as the high school seen in 2018, will close for the summer on June 17. (Photo: Marc Levy)

The state has waived a requirement to add four days to the school year, making the last day of school June 17 – the district calendar’s original end date before the emergency campus closings on March 16 in response to the Covid-19 epidemic.

The decision has a marked impact on the district’s budget: The cost of the additional four days the state wanted to impose to make up for a slow transition to remote learning was estimated at $2 million in teacher pay. Teachers would have been recorded as working for a total of 184 days instead of the 180 agreed on in the collective bargaining agreement between the school district and the teachers’ union, the Cambridge Education Association.

If the waiver had been denied, money that remained in the budget at the end of the fiscal year would have gone to pay part of the $2 million in educator and staff salaries and support.

As it stands, the district anticipates that a balance between $1.5 million and $2 million will remain in the budget at the end of the fiscal year in June. While the funds have not been allocated toward specific programs, the district has plans for the money.

“The city manager has committed to reallocating any budget balances left at the end of FY20 to CPS to use to fund costs related to Covid-19 recovery, including health, safety, academic, technology and other needs,” said Claire Spinner, the district’s chief finance officer, in a written statement.

The recovery costs include the costs of summer programs, increased technology costs for distance learning and the possible reduction or loss of the state-funded Extended Learning Day grants at the Martin Luther King Jr. and Fletcher-Maynard Academy elementary schools.