The Framingham School Committee deserves a big thank you for your work at Town Meeting.
School Supt. Dr. Hiersche and staff also deserve a big thank you.
Everything went so well: presentations, work with the Chief Financial Officer, Ways and Means standing committee, Education standing committee, and the Finance committee.
All the Town Meeting votes were overwhelming in favor of strong schools and against dismantling the schools.
The Big message is that cuts to staff or programs for budgetary reasons are not acceptable. The schools are in a rebuilding and strengthening mode.
I urge the Framingham School Committee to start their planning for continued rebuilding to be presented at the fall Town Meeting. We should be well positioned for this effort considering the very successful annual Town Meeting.
Other good news from Town Meeting is that our town is much stronger since we almost have fully funded stabilization fund. And we now have a stronger fire and police departments.
Regarding the fall Town Meeting: The State has stepped up to the plate to start to make up for the $45 million that it has underfunded Framingham over the past 10 years. The money is there. The increase in State Aid is between $5 to $6 million more than last year. We need to put that money to use because there is a long list of rebuilding that needs to be addressed.
Just a few examples:
- Extra help for the level 3 schools where some kids are struggling with their basic skills.
- Reduce class size which means hire more teachers to make up for the 125 positions which have been cut over the last 3 years.
- Hire more math and reading and science specialists to help increase some kids achievement levels which are below state average
- Do something about the drop out rate which is higher than state average.