The Sudbury school system will lay off 13 teachers and 18 others as part of budget cutbacks announced Friday, reflecting the hard budget times facing the wealthy town after voters there rejected a property tax increase.
The layoffs only affect the Sudbury K-8 Public School System. The Lincoln-Sudbury Regional School District has its own tightened budget forthcoming that will result in about 10 teacher and staff layoffs.
The budget for the K-8 schools also comes with heavily increased student fees. Busing will go from $225 for a single student or $350 per family this year to $350 for an individual student or $650 per family next year. Sports fees will also jump. The "first sport" fee will go from $125 to $195. Additional sports will then rise from $75 to $95.
"This is a challenging time for the staff in our schools. Some have been told they will not return next year," said Sudbury school committee chairwoman Susan Iuliano. "All are working diligently and professionally to plan for next year and will continue to do so."
The school system knew cuts were coming after residents voted down two property tax overrides, one for $1.8 million and another for $2.8 million, on March 31. At town meeting in April, voted approved a $27.02 million budget for Sudbury K-8 schools, just $13,000 more than this year's budget.
"While disappointed, I was not surprised by the result," Superintendent John Brackett told parents in a newsletter sent home. "I heard the comments being made; from those who believed the schools needed to act more like private business and 'tighten the belt in these times,' and comments from parents who just felt they could not vote 'yes' one more time, and those who focused on the economic and operational aspects of Sudbury Public Schools and Lincoln-Sudbury, not on the quality, outcomes or products."
With the budget in hand, Brackett announced to the community that the full-time equivalent of 22 positions would be eliminated, including laying off 13 teachers and 18 full or part-time assistant, secretarial and maintenance staff. Sudbury currently has 168 total teachers in the district.
Brackett promises to press on in spite of the tough times.
"It will be different next year. We will not be doing some things we've done in the past, but school will open on September 4th, kids will come to school with smiles and high hopes, and there will be a very professional staff of educators here to greet them," he said. "You will hear no excuses. While we will not be doing some things we have done in the past, we will maintain high expectations for students and staff."
-- John Guilfoil