School Budgets: What Do They Mean at Lawrence?

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School Budgets:  What Do They Mean at Lawrence?

UPDATED 4/13/15

Last week the Superintendent announced five K-8 classroom consolidations (i.e. the number of sections at these grades would be reduced) that would occur around the district in the Non-Override Spending Proposal. At Lawrence, the consolidation would mean 3 sections of Gr. 7 this year would become 2 sections of Gr. 8 next year. Based on current enrollment, class size in eighth grade would be 27/28 next year. I have updated my budget explanation below accordingly with changes shown in red italics.

Each year, the Superintendent develops a school budget proposal with input from educators, town officials and the School Committee. This year’s proposal includes two budgets – one with additional revenue from an override and one without additional revenue from an override. Information about the Superintendent’s proposed budget is available on-line under the “Superintendent’s News” at, including his complete budget message and videos from some of the budget forums held in March.

Each year, I try to highlight what the budget proposals mean for Lawrence School. However, I encourage you to review the Superintendent’s complete budget message to understand the complete budget picture across the district.

Lawrence Staffing in Both Override and Non Override Spending Proposals

  • Increase of 1.0 FTE (full time equivalent) middle school teachers as Gr. 6 grows to 4 sections.  English teacher Peggy Avakian will become the fourth Gr. 6 homeroom teacher.
  • Literacy Specialists increase .7 FTE from 3.2 to 3.9 FTE to support our literacy initiative and provide intervention.
  • Elementary World Language:  .2 FTE increase for enrollment.
  • Occupational Therapy .2 FTE increase for enrollment.

Override Spending Proposal

  • Because Gr. 6 teachers will no longer be able to teach a section of Gr. 7, we would hire an additional .4 FTE English, .2 FTE Math, .2 FTE Science, and .2 FTE Social Studies to teach Gr. 7.
  • Enrichment Challenge Support:  Lawrence ECS teacher would increase from .5 to .6 FTE. New program structure recommended by Program Review would be implemented. District-wide coordinator would increase from .6 FTE to full-time.
  • Math Specialists to provide coaching, intervention and extension would increase .3 FTE from 1.6 to 1.9 FTE.
  • Guidance Counselors would increase .4 FTE from 1.6 to 2.0 FTE.
  • Special Education:  Inclusion Facilitator would increase from .5 FTE to full-time.
  • Technology: Additional funding is planned to support professional learning for teachers and to continue to increase and upgrade our devices. One example at Lawrence would be 3 additional laptop carts in order to have one cart available per grade level. See the Superintendent’s message for additional details about a proposed $726,000 increase.
  • Building-based Professional Learning:  Schools would receive an increased allocation for school-based professional learning to support school improvement goals, such as our recent habits of mind work and an anticipated new goal to enhance our use of technology.

Non-Override Spending Proposal

  • Classroom Consolidation:  Five elementary classrooms would be reduced across the district by combining sections at the upper elementary or middle school levels. At Lawrence, the consolidation means that 3 sections of Gr. 7 this year would become 2 sections of Gr. 8 next year. Based on current enrollment class size in eighth grade would be 27/28 next year.
  • Enrichment Challenge Support Program would be eliminated, including a loss of .5 FTE ECS teacher at Lawrence.
  • METCO Liaison would be reduced from 2 days a week to 1 day a week.
  • No increase in Math Specialists, Guidance, or Special Education.
  • Technology:  District increase would be reduced from $726,000 to $336,000.

Rick Rogers

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