Budget Cuts Impact Underwood in FY22-23

Dear Underwood families,

Many of you are already aware that the 2022-2023 Newton Public Schools budget proposal consists of substantial cuts to the entire district to cover a $4 million budget gap caused by Covid-related dips in tax revenue and increases in costs. We want to make sure all families are aware of how these proposed cuts will specifically impact both the Underwood and Bigelow communities, as our students will eventually move on to Bigelow Middle School.

You can find the proposed 2022-23 budget and Superintendent’s presentation from March 23rd here and watch the budget review that took place on Monday, March 28th here.

The 2022-2023 proposed budget would require that:

  • Underwood Elementary School reduce its 5th grade by one classroom due to enrollment numbers and eliminate its math interventionist position due to budget cuts. This would mean the loss of one 5th grade teacher and a large class size in next year’s remaining 5th grade section if approved. 
  • Bigelow Middle School reduce a total of 8 staff members due to a combination of enrollment decline and budget cuts. Bigelow has been facing enrollment declines for several years, but is only now being required to reduce positions due to the budget shortfall. 
  • 2.0 FTE 6th grade teachers (2 people)
  • 1.0 FTE 7th grade teacher (1 person)
  • 0.2142 FTE music teacher (1 person)
  • 0.35 FTE World Language teacher (1 person)
  • 1.0 FTE Literacy Specialist (1 person)
  • 0.5 FTE PE teacher (1 person)
  • 0.5 FTE School Counselor (1 person)

This reduction in Underwood and Bigelow teachers and staff will significantly affect the education of our children, who are already behind and need more literacy, math, and social-emotional support after the pandemic, as well as the morale of the staff. Please see the flier created by the Bigelow staff at the end of this email detailing what these cuts mean for instruction at Bigelow.

If you are concerned by these proposed cuts, please speak up and have your voice heard in one or more of the following ways:

  1. Join Underwood staff for a “Stop the Cuts Rally” tomorrow 3/31 – some of the Underwood staff will be gathering before school to rally against the proposed cuts. Parents are also encouraged to make signs and show support at dismissal since teachers will be busy dismissing students.
  1. Send a personal note outlining how these cuts will directly affect your child(ren) to Mayor Ruthanne Fuller and your City Councilor members (contact info listed below). These cuts will affect all NPS schools. 

Mayor: Mayor Ruthanne Fuller: ruthanne@ruthannefuller.com

City Council: citycouncil@newtonma.gov will go to all 2022-2023 City Council Members.

  1. Ask Mayor Ruthanne Fuller to release more ARPA (The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021) towards our school budget. Mayor Fuller has the authority to determine how these federal funds are allocated. Since this budget shortfall is pandemic related, it is appropriate to use these funds.
  1. Ask Mayor Ruthanne Fuller and your City Council members to reallocate funds from other sources (e.g., an override as a longer-term solution, partnership with Newton Schools Foundation, etc.) to make supporting our schools a priority.
  1. Consider joining the NPS staff and community supported rally on Thursday, March 31 from 3:30pm-5:00pm at Newton City Hall and War Memorial: https://fb.me/e/3gRgbEIHs
  1. Participate in the “stop the cuts” email campaign sponsored by the Newton Teachers Association: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/stop-the-cuts-3  If you click on the link, it will take you to a pre-written letter that you can send to Superintendent David Fleishman, the School Committee and Mayor Ruthanne Fuller. At the end of the process, you can share the link on social media.

The final budget is scheduled to be voted on by the School Committee on April 11, 2022 and presented to the City Council on April 13, 2022. LET’S BE LOUD AND CLEAR TO CITY LEADERS THAT ADDITIONAL FUNDS MUST BE ALLOCATED TO OUR SCHOOLS TO CLOSE THIS BUDGET SHORTFALL.

Amy Davis and Laura Goldworm

PTO Co-Presidents