Newburyport, Multiple Overrides

One of my questions is, is this the only override that the Newburyport School Committee would be asking for, or is this the start of a series of overrides that the citizens of Newburyport, MA would be asked to vote for?

The answer appears to be that this would be just the beginning of override requests for the Newburyport Schools.

The information on this question of mine came from the website of “Yes for Newburyport,” A pro-override group of concerned citizens who would like to improve the quality of public education in Newburyport, MA.

To quote from the website of “”:

“…the dire financial climate indicates that Newburyport has several overrides in its immediate future.”

The website elaborates:

“Newburyport Schools operating costs have been increasing at about 6% per year, which is typical of many school districts across the state. Cost increases are due to standard inflationary forces, including increased salaries and energy costs.

In addition, the city’s revenue is down and its costs are up. In fact, the city’s FY2008 health care cost increases alone almost completely consume its property tax revenue increase. As a result, all departments in the city are facing level funding and even declining funding for FY2008, including the schools. The School’s FY2008 expense is expected to increase at 5.8%, assuming the District continues to operate as it did in FY2007.”

“The financial outlook for Newburyport’s schools does not improve in the next several years. The current economic stagnation of the State, and the shortage of new growth within Newburyport, both indicate that State and Local revenues will remain close to level over the next two to three years. Meanwhile the District’s costs will continue to increase at roughly the same rate as in the past, probably in the range of 5% to 6% per year.

To overcome this financial hurdle, the School District must work to increase revenue. Cost reduction is not the answer. It is likely that after the dust settles on the FY2008 budget, there will be absolutely nothing left to cut without a dramatic impact on student achievement. The only answer left is to increase revenue. Some of the new revenue must come from overrides.”

The website does go on to say in bold letters:

“But, more importantly, the District needs to work with the City’s leaders and citizens to plan and execute a future for Newburyport that can naturally afford an excellent school system without having annual overrides.” Amen to that.

What I would like to see the pro-override folks do is come up with that plan now. No easy feat. However, if we have a leader as creative as Superintendent Kevin Lyons who comes up with incredibly problem solving solutions to seemingly impossible dilemmas, then maybe there is someone out there who can come up with equal problem solving solutions, so that no one would ever think of asking the citizens of Newburyport, MA for multiple overrides for the Newburyport City Schools.

Mary Eaton

(Editor’s Note: The quotations above were taken from the website of “” on April 4, 2007. The website “” has since been added to, amended and “tweaked.”)