MERSD End of Week Update
Posted by Pam Beaudoin on 5/22/2020 2:00:00 PM
Good Afternoon MERSD Community,
I hope this email finds you well. I am happy to report that Remote Learning Phase III is going well, and we are making solid progress toward our goals.
- Advance the curriculum in alignment with the Department of Education power standards
- Deliver Instruction in an audio/visual format either synchronous or asynchronous
- Increase connectedness with the classroom
The terms uncertainty and uncharted waters have been used countless times over the past few months, but they remain the best descriptors of what lies ahead. As we continue on this journey and begin preparing for the multiple scenarios for reopening school in the fall, we will be reaching out to solicit feedback to inform our work. As we look forward, the MERSD team will do its best to design a flexible program that puts students at the center of our decision making and strives to ensure access for all.
In addition to the challenge of planning for the Fall of 2020, MERSD is facing a very challenging budget situation. As you may know, the state of Massachusetts has delayed its budget development process to the summer, and local communities have had to postpone annual Town Meetings. These two events are critical to the development of the school budget: the state determining school funding appropriations and the town appropriating local assessment dollars. Although MERSD developed and passed a budget earlier this year, the economic downturn combined with an anticipated 10% ($360,000) reduction to state aid has required us to revise our budget. The following MERSD Scool Committee Budget Goals have guided our process for budget development and revision:
- Develop and deliver a fiscally responsible budget that maintains educational quality, supports District goals, and recognizes the confines of Proposition 2 ½.
- Manage Enrollment
- Strive to meet School Committee class size guidelines
- Serve increasingly diverse student educational needs
- Exercise fiscal responsibility
- Seek internal efficiencies to offset growth needs when possible
- Meet local, state and federal responsibilities while controlling growth
Throughout this revision process, MERSD has been working collaboratively with the Boards of Selectman and Finance in Essex and Manchester. Both communities have organized outdoor Town Meetings to be held in June. Town meeting is the mechanism by which the MERSD budget is formally approved and funds are appropriated by each town. We are hopeful that these meetings will occur, and we will have a formal budget in place to begin the new fiscal year in July. If you are interested in learning more about our budget and the revisions and reductions we have made, please visit the MERSD Budget page to review our latest documents.
I hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend and can take some time to unplug and enjoy the wonderful spring weather, as well as to reflect on the sacrifice of those serving our country.
Updates & Reminders - New Items
Cass of 2020 Celebration
- Save the Date! June 5 at 4:30 – Class of 2020 Car Parade: Students will begin to arrive at 4pm. We are planning a safe environment, yet festive atmosphere, in the parking lot and then a parade through the streets of Manchester and Essex. More detailed information soon.
Pick-Up of Student Materials: Student material pick-up will take place between May 28th and June 5th. Principals have created and communicated school-specific plans including dates and times. If you have questions, please contact your building principal.
Remote Learning: The MERSD Remote Learning Plan and related documents are available on our Remote Learning Page. If you have questions or concerns related to the implementation of the remote planning plan, I encourage you to reach out to the school using the MERSD Problem Solving Quick Guide.
Food Assistance: Free Lunch is available to all who need it.
- Pick-Up sites are currently in Gloucester (click here for information on locations). Open Table is working on adding locations
- Weekly Grocery Support is available. Please click here for more information.
School Buildings: All buildings and fields will remain closed per the Governor’s order.
- No access for students, staff, or the community.
- During the shutdown, buildings will be cleaned and sanitized.
Construction at Memorial School continues under the guidelines for essential construction.
School Closure: All Massachusetts schools remain closed and we will continue implementing Remote Learning for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Because we opted to eliminate three days of April Break to continue remote learning through that period, the DESE has advised that we can end the school year on the 181st day of school. That puts our last day of school at June 19th.