I am writing this letter to alert you to the fact that the Norfolk Public Schools are about to face another year of cuts to the budget that will raise class size in regular education classrooms and increase caseloads among Special Education teachers.
I will keep this letter short and direct. For the past five years, the children in Pre-K to 6 have borne the brunt of the budget shortfalls that the entire Town has endured.
There is no doubt that the Town of Norfolk contributes its fair share to the public schools and there is no question that taxpayers pay very high taxes on their homes. But the fact remains that revenue is clearly not proportionately shared among the schools. In fact, every Town department managed to receive some incremental increase in the past five years – with the exception of the most vulnerable population, our children.
The chart below compares annual percentage increases since 2007.
PK- 6 %
5 - year
Looking ahead to next year…
• A simple maintenance of effort budget for the Norfolk Schools next year would require a 6.4% percent increase in revenue, $605,000.
• The School Committee anticipates receiving no more than 3.0 % and perhaps less.
• Given only a 3.0% increase, the School Department will have to make the following reductions to staff and materials:
2.0 Teachers at Freeman-Kennedy
Class size will increase to 24/25
1.0 Technology Director
Loss of administration of technology purchases; supervision of technicians; planning professional development
1.0 Technology Teacher
Not an instructional position; loss of system-wide professional development in classroom use of technology
Materials, supplies, utilities
Further erosion of up-to-date materials to support curriculum development in ELA, math, science, and social studies
These reductions, ongoing for the past 5 years, continue to negatively impact the overall quality of the Norfolk Public Schools.
• If the Norfolk Public Schools should be required to make further cuts, additional classroom teachers will have to be cut raising class size above the current School Committee policy limit.
Needless to say, the Norfolk community has always taken pride in its schools. The conditions under which the schools have operated in the recent past will undermine that pride and the confidence that our children are adequately prepared for the future. I sincerely hope that the Town and its citizens will work together to restore the elementary schools to a level of funding that will support stronger curriculum, new books and materials and smaller class sizes.