School community continues to call for fully funded budget

Village Elementary School in Marblehead. Photo by Spenser Hasak

The message of many parents, educators, and students has been loud and clear: Fully fund Marblehead Public Schools.

More than 250 people came to the Veterans Middle School auditorium on Thursday to convey that message at the School Committee’s public budget forum.

Earlier this year, a nearly $2.3 million cut to the MPS budget was proposed due to the amount of money that the town was able to allocate to the schools, an even larger cut than fiscal year 2024’s budget, which saw dozens of positions and programs eliminated from the district.

The School Committee has not decided if it will propose an override that would allow it to fully fund the district at Town Meeting this year. In a statement, Marblehead Education Association Co-President Jonathan Heller said that it is imperative to find a way to fully fund Marblehead Public Schools.

“With the current budget cuts, we are projected to lose about 15% of our total staff. The School Committee must go back to the town and advocate to fully fund the FY25 budget. We will go to the town with you as an advocate for fully funded schools because the MEA will fight to protect the quality of education provided to the children of Marblehead,” Heller said. “Student needs continue to rise, and it is unconscionable to consider deep cuts to our school staff and programs. Budgets are moral documents, and it is time to invest in our children and see where Marblehead stands when it comes to public education.”

The statement from the MEA also warned that a $2.3 million cut for FY25 would mean dozens of cuts to staff and therapeutic programs, and a decrease in student services.

Marblehead High School math and computer science teacher Michael Fu said that without a fully funded budget, issues will continue to arise in the town’s schools.

“The efforts and support given my own children from their wonderful teachers have had a profound effect, not only for them but for my own health and wellness,” Fu said. “We need a school budget that protects high-quality learning. Without an adequate budget, we will continue to have systemic issues. Without an adequate budget, we will continue to lose exceptional educators and be unable to attract new ones. Without an adequate budget, we will continue to be understaffed and have unsafe work environments.”

Village School English teacher Shelley Burns added that the proposed budget will “put the quality of our schools at risk.”

“Marblehead must, and can, do better with its proposed school budget,” Burns said.

Town Meeting is set for Monday, May 6 at the Veterans Middle School auditorium.

  • 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.