Thank you for letting me use the Newburyport Political Blog as a way to communicate what we as a City are facing in regard to the education of our children.
Last year the Newburyport School Committee was forced to make over $1 million dollars of cuts to our school programs.
Especially difficult were cuts eliminating foreign languages at the elementary school level — a critical period to learn foreign languages. As a result, this school district’s foreign language department, which took 20 years to build to this point, has now lost its elementary foundation. Our school district’s foreign language program was so well structured that other Massachusetts school districts would inquire, and even visit to find out how Newburyport got the job done.
Another was the elimination of a popular theater arts program that touched just about every student at the Nock Middle School. It was hoped to be replaced, or at least fill some of the need, with the help of a fee based after school drama program. When the substitute program was conceived, developed and ready for sign-up, it drew less than 10 children.
Finally, one of the smallest cuts involved the total elimination of the music department’s strings program. At a cost of less than $8,000, the program included a part time and very flexible strings instructor. The program served 40 middle school students, five of which came from other districts as “Choice” students.
Vice Chair, Newburyport School Committee