The numbers are in: 33 school jobs could be cut

33 positions will be cut in Marblehead Public Schools if voters do not approve an override, Superintendent John Buckey said at a public budget hearing on Tuesday evening.

Two budgets were presented by Buckey at the hearing: a reduced services budget that did not include an override from the town, and a level services budget including the override. The level budget has a 4.52 percent increase from the fiscal year 2023 budget, while the reduced budget has only a 1.82 percent increase.

The School Committee has made nearly $5 million in budget cuts for FY24 in order for the schools to have a balanced budget.

With the reduced services budget, some of the positions to be cut throughout the district will include freshman coaches, special education instructors, librarians, and world language teachers.

At the high school, paraprofessional positions and freshman sports will be eliminated altogether.

“Elimination of paraprofessionals, some of whom have been in the district for multiple decades, to have to eliminate that position is gut wrenching for the high school,” Buckey said.

At Village School, the physical education and music teacher positions will not be filled after those teachers retire at the end of this year.

“They would have two classroom teachers eliminated resulting in larger class sizes, decreasing supervision because of not being able to fund paraprofessional positions,” Buckey said.

Veterans Middle School will lose a librarian.

“The elimination of our librarian will negatively impact curriculum development … the ability to support the reading needs of our students (1500+ books have been checked out this year already), the ability to manage online resources, the creation and management of our summer reading list, and the ability to fully support the social/emotional needs of our students,” Buckey’s presentation said.

The loss of a world language position at Veterans will cut Latin class, meaning the French and Spanish class sizes will increase.

The Lucretia and Joseph Brown School will lose a special education teacher, a tutor, and lunch/recess paraprofessionals.

“[This] increases need for supervision or for others to pick that up, so counselors and administrators, counselors not able to provide direct services to students because they’re doing cafeteria duty,” Buckey said.

Glover Elementary School will lose a front office clerk, lunch/recess paraprofessionals, and a reading tutor. This will affect the school’s ability to provide Tier 2 Literacy support to students.

Technology will also be impacted by the reduced services budget.

“We’ve invested significantly and I think wisely, utilizing grants and other funding to get teachers the technology that they need and the support to be able to implement it, in our reduced services budget that position goes away,” Buckey said.

A custodian position will be cut as well.

“We do a lot of rotation as we’re not able to fill all of our custodian positions,” Buckey said. “Reducing that by one means that staff will continually have to be moving around.”

Central administration will lose an HR director and a payroll coordinator.

The district has requested $350,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. If approved, those funds will go towards textbooks, phonics kits, supplies, and more.

If the level services budget gets approved, seven vacant positions will be eliminated, three positions will be repurposed, and freshman sports will be fully funded.

“This isn’t where any of us want to be, but the level services will at least get all of our students continued service in what they need,” Buckey said.

The School Committee will be voting on the budgets Monday, followed by a Finance Committee budget hearing.

The budgets will then go to Town Meeting on May 1.

The final fate of the schools’ budget will be decided at town elections on June 20.