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School Cuts Could Include Hockey, More Than 22 Staff

With override vote approaching, school district details possible cuts.

The Lynnfield School District has laid out some of the specific budget cuts that could be on the horizon depending on the outcome of the June 6 override vote.

For the June 6 vote, town residents will be asked to approve a $555,000 Proposition 2 1/2 override. If the override does not pass, town officials are working under the assumption that employee unions will not accept both layoffs and some $750,000 in health insurance concessions – which would require the town to fix a deficit of about $1.3 million. Union members also still have yet to formally ratify what is said to be a tentative agreement on these concessions.

Superintendent Robert Hassett indicated at last week's school committee meeting that he had sent out letters of layoff/non-renewal to 46 staffers, 39 with nonprofessional status – primarily because teachers are contractually required to know their status by May 15 – several weeks before the override vote takes place.

Hockey Program Also In the Crosshairs

Under a worst-case budget scenario, Hassett explained in a recent email to local media that the savings of $1.3 million could be achieved by cutting 22.63 positions as well as the LHS hockey team and about $40,000 in funding for supplies. Cutting hockey is one option the district has reluctantly eyed throughout the budget process because it is the most expensive sport to run.

Long List of Possible Cuts

The specific cuts in the school system under the worst-case budget scenario that Hassett laid out would include two media specialists, two elementary curriculum specialists, the reading resource coordinator, four part-time reading tutors, 1.7 middle school foreign language teachers, a middle school PE teacher, a .7 elementary PE teacher, a middle school computer/technology teacher, a special ed teacher, a team chairperson, 1.7 teachers at each of the town's two elementary schools, one teacher each from grades 5,6 and 7, and an English and a foreign language teacher from the high school.

School officials have warned throughout the process that larger class sizes will be one result of a cut in staff levels. At last week's school committee meeting, members raised other concerns such as a possible drop in property values and a return to the days of students spending time in study hall as opposed to specific learning activities.

Hassett has also noted that the district's financial burden under this budget scenario is offset somewhat by four retirements, two resignations and two leaves of absence. The district sent out more layoff notices than presumed necessary in order to have more flexibility during the rest of the budget process.

Jim Pothier May 17, 2011 at 10:39 PM
If you cut your high school hockey program, send your players to North Reading. Our co-op wrestling team is a success, why not hockey?
Catherine Celenza May 19, 2011 at 04:07 PM
I, for one, strongly encourage people to vote AGAINST the override. It looks like these eliminated positions are not critical to the success of the Lynnfield student population, and honestly, enough is enough!!
Amy Nardone May 22, 2011 at 01:57 PM
A failed override means the elimination of one patrolman and one firefighter. Please, let's remember that public safety is at stake on June 6th as well.
Wallace McKenzie May 24, 2011 at 02:25 PM
Please vote Yes on June 6th. The selectmen have noted that this override is the preserve the current level of services, not expand them. Reductions have been made throughout the town departments. The cost to the average homeowner is approximately 95 dollars per year. If this does not pass, the value of living in Lynnfield will decrease and the value of everyone’s’ home will decrease. Lynnfield has lower per capita expenditures that most of our peer communities. Please visit our website (www.yesjune6.org) to see the cost comparison charts. If you have questions please send them to info@yesjune6.org

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