The following School Committee Update was provided by Kendra Foley, the Chair of the Watertown School Committee:
The Watertown School Committee has been active this summer, meeting monthly to prepare for the upcoming school year and to address routine business.
At our July meeting, the School Committee presented its annual evaluation of Dr. Galdston’s work as Superintendent. The review found that Dr. Galdston is meeting her goals, with all 7 members of the School Committee giving her a proficient or exemplary rating in her overall job performance. You can read the full review, with comments from each member of the committee, here. The committee is grateful for the Superintendent’s steady and thoughtful leadership. We are lucky to have her leading the Watertown Public Schools.
Dr. Galdston also presented the school district’s response to the March 2022 Equity Audit, providing us and the public with a dashboard detailing the Equity Action Plan. This document outlines how the district is tackling the 54 recommendations made as part of the Equity Audit and serves as a way for the community to monitor the planning and implementation of equity strategies in Watertown.
Our district had extremely stable enrollment numbers for the 2022-2023 school year. More than 95% of students enrolled by October 1, 2022 remained in the district on the final day of school. You can find more information on WPS enrollment here.
The School Committee unanimously voted to use any remaining funds from Fiscal Year 2023 to prepay out-of-district tuition costs for Fiscal Year 2024. This will hopefully help cover any potential shortfalls that may arise for FY24, with the cost of out-of-district tuition rising across the state. The Committee also unanimously approved a 2.5% salary adjustment for staff members who are not aligned with bargaining units. This represents a cost of just over $68,000.
We were introduced to our new Director of Public Buildings, Denise Maroney. Denise takes over the department at a critical time, with our Lowell project on the verge of wrapping up, the opening of the temporary high school at Moxley Field, and the construction of the new Watertown High School set to begin in the fall. We wish her luck in her new role!
And speaking of our building projects, take a look at the latest pictures from inside the Lowell Elementary School and the Moxley High School. This fall will prove to be an exciting time for our community with the opening of these buildings.
And, on Monday, the State legislature finalized the fiscal year 2024 state budget and sent it to the Governor, who has 10 days to review it. The budget includes additional state funding for our high school building project and universal free school meals for students, among other things. We are grateful to our state legislative delegation – Senator Will Brownsberger, Representative Steve Owens, and Representative John Lawn – for advocating for our students.
We are wishing you a safe and happy summer and look forward to welcoming the Watertown community back to school in the fall.