Town Meeting to Consider Important School Issues

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Spring is finally here and the warmer weather signals the build up to the end of another school year. Next Monday, May 4th marks the start of Needham's Annual Town Meeting. There are 2 important  school-related issues coming before Town Meeting: next year's school operating budget and a request for design funds to expand Needham High School. Please read below for more information.

 

Stay tuned for a CNS newsletter interview with High Rock Principal Jessica Downey about how iPads are being used in 6th grade as part of the District's 1:1 Personalized Learning Initiative.

5/1/15: In This Issue
Proposed NHS Building Project
School Operating Budget
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Proposed Needham High School Building Project

A key item being presented at Town Meeting is funding for engineering and design work for an expansion project at Needham High School. Needham High was originally constructed for a student population of 1,450, however, the forecasted student population averages 1,650 students for the next 10+ years. This higher enrollment puts tremendous pressure on classroom and common spaces. A detailed memo about the need for additional space at Needham High School is available on the NPS website.

 

The original Warrant Article asked for $500,000 to study the expansion of the cafeteria and the addition of 6,500-8,000 square feet of classroom and related space. However, due to reluctance by the Town's Finance Committee to support a classroom expansion, and the School Committee's desire to immediately move ahead with as much of this project as possible, an amendment will be proposed at Town Meeting to ask for just $150,000 to fund design and engineering work for a cafeteria expansion. 

 

Even though the funding request for a study of how best to add additional classroom space at Needham High was removed, Superintendent Gutekanst and the School Committee still believe adding additional classrooms to NHS is a critical issue. CNS will provide updates on the High School building project as it progresses.

 

The need for classroom and related spaces at Needham High has been discussed at several School Committee meetings, and additional background information on this project is available in the March 17th School Committee Packet (Needham High School Design Update).

School Operating Budget

Each year, Town Meeting must approve the Town of Needham's annual operating budget, including an appropriation for the schools. Town Meeting will vote on whether to approve the recommended $61.3 million budget for the Needham Public Schools for FY16.

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