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Town Meeting approves school budget, eliminates 20 jobs

Posted by Sarah Favot  May 20, 2011 10:10 AM

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Town Meeting has approved the School Department’s fiscal 2012 budget, which includes eliminating 20 positions on the payroll.

On Thursday night, its final session, Town Meeting also approved $1.7 million to fund capital projects recommended by the Capital Outlay Committee.

The approved School Department budget totals $34,345,233, which is about $150,000 more than the fiscal 2011 budget appropriation.

The department gave Town Meeting members a list of 20 positions to be cut, including four elementary school teachers, an elementary school librarian, a high school science teacher, and a middle school guidance counselor.

Superintendent James Hayden said that he gave 16 teachers layoff notices two weeks ago.

For the next school year some classes in the elementary school would have up to 27 students, Hayden said.

He said that the fiscal 2011 budget has been frozen since February and that he estimates $250,000 would be left over for a reserve account to be used for the 2012 budget.

Hayden said one of his priorities is that the School Committee would reinstate positions that have been lost, if it were to receive increased revenues in Chapter 70 state funds or circuit-breaker money.

Hayden said the School Committee would take recommendations from him and his team of administrators and principals as to the order of which positions would be reinstated. He said his team would look at student data, need, and student achievement.

He said that the middle school would be at the top of his list of priorities to receive any additional resources because of the help it needs in math, he said.

School Committee chairman Mark Joseph has said that the teachers union has been asked to take a pay freeze for fiscal 2012 during contract negotiations. If the union agrees to the freeze, 14.5 positions would be reinstated, Joseph said.

Jody Smith, Norwood Teachers Union president, said that negotiations are ongoing so she couldn’t discuss negotiations, but she said that out of 23 similar communities in the state, Norwood teachers are ranked 19th in rate of pay.

“We have not in the past nor are we asking to be at the top, just in the middle,” said Smith.

In other measures Town Meeting also approved capital projects totaling about $1.7 million, most of which will be funded through debt service, for projects including acquiring new Department of Public Works equipment, town hall repairs, and lighting at the Balch and Oldham elementary schools.

Sarah Favot can be reached at

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