AMESBURY — Mayor Ken Gray unveiled his plan to restore $165,000 of the $330,542 in proposed spending cuts to next school year’s budget to the School Committee last night, paving the way for the continuation of the high school’s current three-year foreign language program.
Based on Gray’s recommendation, the School Committee came to a consensus not to reopen its 2014-15 school year budget of $28,148,496.
A replacement for retiring AHS foreign language teacher Maureen Boody was not included in the School Committee’s initial FY15 budget that was voted in April. This forced school officials to propose a cut of one year of foreign language classes from the high school’s current three.
Depending on the replacement teacher found for Boody, Gray indicated that an additional foreign language teacher may be a possibility for next school year as well.
Boody was honored for her service last night, along with retiring district faculty and staff members Robert Canning, Lee Simmons, Susan Mitchell, Linda Clark and Barbra Wallack.
Gray explained that by working over the past eight weeks with school leadership and administrators, the School Committee, state Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives, D-Newburyport, state Rep. Michael Costello, D-Newburyport, and the City Council that he has been able to put together half of the $330,542 shortfall without raising property taxes beyond what is already submitted in his next fiscal year’s budget of $53,863,035.
Originally part of the school budget for the next fiscal year, the new school resource officer will now be absorbed by the police department’s budget, accounting for $45,000. Another $40,000 will come from cost reductions made by the school administration, $35,000 will come from free cash (pending City Council approval in the fall) and $45,000 was secured by Ives as the level services portion of the early college program with Northern Essex Community College, in the proposed state Senate budget that has yet to meet Gov. Deval Patrick’s signature.