School Committee votes to bring back $1.2 million in budget cuts

Photo by Marblehead School Committee Youtube

The School Committee on Monday night unanimously voted to approve a budget of $47,072,476 that would bring back approximately $1.2 million in proposed cuts for fiscal year 2025, using money from revolving and reserve accounts in addition to surplus funds. 

The vote came during a committee meeting involving a budget presentation by interim Superintendent Theresa McGuinness. Preliminary budget projections earlier in the year had proposed nearly $2.5 million in cuts to the Marblehead Public Schools FY25 budget. However, over the last several weeks there has been a major push, primarily from the Marblehead Education Association, to find a way to fully fund the district.

Last week, the committee agreed that it would not be going through with the suggested reduced-services budget, and would find a way to incorporate a “hybrid” budget that would bring back some cuts, but would ultimately not result in a fully funded budget. 

McGuinness explained that the district had reviewed all of the cuts made based off of the preliminary FY25 budget and put together a list detailing high-priority positions that would be cut with a reduced-services budget. 

The list was broken up into three separate categories, or tiers, totaling roughly $1,229,000. Each of those categories entailed positions slated to be cut in FY25, but also included some cut positions being brought back from FY24.

McGuinness said that her team will look into the surplus estimated for the end of FY24, as well as revolving and service funds to “offer some suggestions thereafter that might subsidize or fund part of this.”

If the schools are able to find funding to bring back the $1.2 million in cuts, that would shrink the total amount of cuts needed by roughly $1 million. Committee Chair Sarah Fox said that she believes getting the budget up to $47 million is becoming a realistic possibility.

“This number now is becoming a number we can get to,” Fox said. 

The positions added back in from the prioritization lost originally made for a budget total of $46,822,476, however the committee opted to include an additional $250,000 for four positions that were not included in the add back: special education teacher and special education paraprofessional at Glover and reading teacher and special education teacher at Village School.

Fox stated that the $1.2 million would be funded by the schools, and that the committee would go to the town for an additional $250,000 in free cash funding to fund the additional four positions.

“If we can cover in house, $1.2 million and these other items means we are asking the town to somehow fund an additional $250,000,” Fox said. “I don’t think asking the town to find an additional $250,000 is a huge ask.”

Mary DeLai, a consultant in the MPS Business Office, estimated that the school’s would be able to contribute $600,000 from FY24 to the $1.2 million that would be brought back.

Prior to the meeting, the School Committee met virtually with the Finance Committee on Monday morning. The Finance Committee had originally scheduled in the school budget for its budget hearing for all departments at the Mary Alley Building that night, however the School Committee had not yet voted on its budget. 

With the School Committee now having approved its budget, the FY25 budget will likely be presented to the Finance Committee on Monday, April 8.

  • Ryan Vermette is the Item's Marblehead reporter. He graduated from Springfield College in 2021 with a Bachelor's degree in Communications/Sports Journalism. While in school, he wrote multiple sports articles for the school newspaper, the Springfield Student, and joined Essex Media Group in August, 2022. Ryan is a college basketball fanatic and an avid Boston sports fan and in his free time, enjoys video games and Marvel movies.