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John P. Phelan, Superintendent of Schools

In every entry you will find news from the schools as well as entries that will be staples in each edition, such as School Committee Updates and School News.  We hope to highlight our staff, students, and this amazing community we are all part of. There is a tremendous amount of activity in every school in Belmont, and we are proud to share it through this newsletter and the BPS website.

John P. Phelan,
Superintendent of Schools

Superintendent's Newsletters

Archive: March 2015

March 27 Newsletter

date 3/27/2015

We made it to the first day of spring, and Boston beat the snow record with 108.6 inches of snow when 2.9 inches fell on March 15.  Boston beat the record by one more inch than the previous record set in 1995-96 and was declared by the National Weather Service to be the snowiest winter in Boston since snowfalls were recorded beginning in 1872.  Let's hope Mother Nature is satisfied with that and doesn't want to beat the record again next year.  It was a busy winter of school events, and the beginning of spring promises to be just as full.

Quote of the Month:  “Wisdom.... comes not from age, but from education and learning.” 
― Anton Chekhov


The School Committee recommended and voted to change the school calendar to recognize and observe Yom Kippur beginning with the 2015-16 school year.  Another note on the calendar per School Committee policy is the start of school, which is Wednesday, September 2.  Given the late date Labor Day falls on, school will be in session Wednesday and Thursday with Friday off so families can enjoy the holiday weekend.

The Finance Committee continues to discuss the FY16 budget, going through the entire document line by line.   As you know we have submitted two budgets this year—the Available Revenue Budget and the Financial Task Force budget.  The last Budget Presentation before the April 7 Town Election and Override Vote is on March 30 at 7:00 p.m. at the Beech Street Center.  Please go to our website to view the presentation to see the impacts of both budgets.  As difficult as this budget season has been, the silver lining to the dark cloud is the engagement of the High School students and seeing them advocate for themselves and their school during this budget process.  They have learned how to be part of the democratic process, and we appreciate their involvement and effort to support their schools.

The School Committee voted to submit a Statement of Interest (SOI) to the Massachusetts School Building Authority to renovate Belmont High School.  The State will respond to our request by December of 2015.

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March 12 Newsletter

date 3/12/2015

We are getting closer to spring:  Daylight Savings Time began, St. Patrick’s Day is March 17, and the Red Sox are at spring training.  My thanks again to the Custodial and Maintenance staff for cleaning up after this relentless winter.  Our staff is continually looking at the safety of our school roofs, and we have had the roofs reviewed by an engineer and a roofing expert.  Snow banks narrowed some streets to one lane which greatly increased traffic for all commuters, resulting in delays for school buses getting to school.  Thank you for your patience and cooperation in the safe transportation of students to and from school.  

Quote of the Month:  “Give a bowl of rice to a man and you will feed him for a day. Teach him how to grow his own rice and you will save his life.”
― Confucius


The School Committee discussed the FY16 budget at the March 10, 2015 meeting.  School Committee members and the Central Office Leadership Team have scheduled nine (9) meetings for the public to hear and see the information on what next year will look like if we are to implement the Financial Task Force (FTF) Budget or we are forced to implement the Available Revenue Budget. Please see link to the budget presentation

As you know these two scenarios mark a stark difference in what our schools will look like next year.  The FTF budget will bring our funding to a point of support in areas that have caused our district to be in deficit over the last two years and would bring on additional positions to support our students and staff as we grapple with the ever increasing enrollment wave of students.  The Available Revenue budget will result in a $1.7 million deficit that would result in the reduction of 27.6 staff members ranging for teachers, aides, clerks, administrators, and facilities staff.

Given the severity of these potential reductions we urge parents to attend one of the scheduled meetings and review the budget presentation online to get informed.

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