Every year the school district plans the next year’s budget. The Longmeadow School Committee approved a new budget for Financial Year 2021 (FY21) at the school committee meeting on February 11th. They combed through the budget, school committee presentations, and talked with (LPS) Superintendent Dr. Marty O’Shea and Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations Mr. Thomas Mazza to find out what are the biggest changes in the budget next year.
Building of Internships and Educational Opportunities
LHS is looking into hiring a Community Based Learning Coordinator (with a $65,329 placeholder salary added to the highschool’s budget). This new hire would work with private entities (companies) and place students who are interested in having workplace experience in internships, part time work, and will overall allow for immersion in a field that a student may be interested in.
Middle School Emphasis On STEAM
While not really reflected in the budget, the middle schools’ will be putting more money towards project based learning & Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM). No additional funds are requested and there will be the same use of staff. For sixth graders this initiative will be reflected in the use of the extension block to incorporate more of the STEAM opportunity. There will be more engaged student opportunities and hands on opportunities that students haven’t experienced in a separate class, and the goal is for this to be cross curricular.
The emphasis on project based learning can also be seen through the use of the innovative science assessment vs. the state Science MCAS. This is pitched as an opportunity for LPS to pilot a more performance and task based assessment in fifth and eighth grade. Students will still be taking a small portion of the traditional Science MCAS but there will also be a local assessment that is not bound by the old school assessment that one can prepare for.
Reduction in Transportation Costs
The Lower Pioneer Valley Education Collaborative (LPVEC) is bringing on another busing district so there is about $30,000 reduction for LPS. There will be no reduction in individual bus service cost as the busing in LPS already operates at a significant loss.
New Licensed Practical Nurse at LHS
LHS will be taking on an additional Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) to assist LHS School Nurse Mrs. Sara Jasak, and also to float around the district and fill in when there are absences in other Longmeadow district schools.
Emphasis on Tier 2 interventions at LHS
This isn’t reflected in the budget but there will be an emphasis on helping struggling students and for regular incoming ninth grade students. The hope is to use existing Math and English teachers provide an additional scheduled block where students can get help in a systematic, targeted way.
Increases In The Preschool Program
Prior to this year, LPS had two half day sections. Now with more increases in enrollment to the program, LPS is adding a classroom. This will result in three classrooms, two of which are half day programs.