Shrewsbury Parents Concerned Over Class Sizes

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Shrewsbury Parent Michelle Duke said that overcrowded classrooms have stretched teaching capacity "to the max."
Shrewsbury Parent Michelle Duke said that overcrowded classrooms have stretched teaching capacity "to the max." Photo Credit: Shrewsbury Media Connection

SHREWSBURY, Mass. — For parents, teachers, and others at Wednesday's school budget hearing, the single most pressing issue was overcrowding in Shrewsbury classrooms.

Parent Michelle Duke said that Shrewsbury schools had been on "a downward slope for years."

"Teachers are stretched to the max," she said, adding that overcrowded classes means teachers cannot provide as much personal attention to their students.

Duke said that the town's lack of investment in its schools is reflected by the state's decrease in Chapter 70 funding. "We need to raise taxes," she said. "I know it's not a popular thing to say, but I'll say it … Something needs to be done."

Suzanne Remington said Shrewsbury cannot look to the state to get more money for education. "We need to decide that education is a priority," she said, adding that she would like to see an override in May 2014 to increase the tax rate.

According to Paton School PTO Co-President Lorraine Daignault, many teachers are nearing exhaustion due to class size. She was also concerned that Shrewsbury had gone as far as to have one principal cover both Paton and Beal schools.

School Committee Chair Erin Canzano said her board's goal was to carry on current services and to begin restoration of positions and services cut in previous years.

However, there is a $4 million gap between the superintendent's $54 million school budget recommendation and the town manager's recommendation.

Selectman Jim Kane said it's "not realistic to think the entire gap will be filled," and again called on the school district to come up with a formal budget request, so that the superintendent and town manager could work out a final budget proposal.

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Write in Candidate! = Read My Lips No New Taxes - For Select person! Write in Candidate!

Can someone answer me this simple question. If you provide an operational override this coming year and restore the School Departments necessary funding to help get the schools get back on track, lower class sizes, decreased fees, possibly eliminate them over time. All good things, all things that good economic times would be doable. This would be a one time shot at an increase to try to remedy the situation. We do not live in caves, we hear, see, talk about the dismal economic future on a daily basis. Almost negative GDP last quarter, stagnated earnings. I guess what I am saying and would like some to enlighten me, what is going to happen, maybe not next year but the year after when the Public and School departments do not have enough to cover their budget Will the be another demand for another operational override/ When will it stop? When we have a tax base like Wellesley, Newton, Brookline, Weston. As I stated somewhere here before US household wages have been stagnant for a good period of time. A good term to use would "Treading Water" The average person has not been able to keep up, Higher Ed continues to spiral out of control, the EPA and Mass DEP continue to mandate environmental policy without funding, "do as I say or I will put you out of business". No court intervention from these out of control government agencies. Health care continues to increase despite the notion of "Free Health Care", when growing up, my old man use to say "Son, there is nothing free, somewhere along the line someone is paying for it" He was right., We live in a nation where Washington DC has replaced the home of Robbin Hood's Sherwood Forest. The philosophy hasn't changed however, "Take from the rich and give to the poor. I do not believe any sane person believes by increasing taxes on the wealthy that it will come anywhere near reducing the debt or deficit. We could tax everyAmerican, 60%, 70%, 80%, it wont come anywhere near fixing the financial problem we are in. Why you say, because because every time the politicians get their hands on the public's hard earned wages, they find some way to squander the money on things that are not important to the average citizen. The mating habits of the Monarch Butterfly, building bridges to nowhere, the list goes on.

I just got a real estate tax increase!