Watertown Class Sizes May Not Shrink Under Proposed Budget

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Keeping class sizes small is one of the School Committee’s goals each year, but Superintendent Jean Fitzgerald said the budget may prevent lowering class sizes.

The School Committee requested a $42 million budget, which would be $6 million more than Fiscal 2014 and would pay for 22 new teachers. The budget proposed by Town Manager Michael Driscoll  last week gave the schools a $2.267 million, or 6.18 percent, increase.

Fitzgerald said the first priority will be filling the positions that will keep Watertown in compliance with state and federal mandates, including special education and English as a second language. After that, class size and other needs “may go unresolved,” Fitzgerald said Monday night.

School Committee Chairwoman Eileen Hsu-Balzer said she hopes to work with town officials to come up with a good solution to a bad situation.

How the school funding will be spent will be discussed by the School Committee’s Budget and Finance Subcommittee on May 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the Watertown High School Lecture Hall.

The subcommittee will also look at how to spend $210,000 in one-time funds provided to the schools from the Town’s Free Cash Fund for the current school year. 

The Town Council will discuss the school budget on June 3 at 6 p.m. at Town Hall. The Town Council will vote on the entire Fiscal 2015 budget on June 10.

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