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Hanley lays out $642K wish list

Keegan: School budget needed major reorganization

April 06, 2010
SOUTHBRIDGE — To Superintendent Dale Hanley, the school budget she proposed, and the School Committee has already accepted, is just about the minimum with which the schools can function next year.

Speaking to the Education and Human Services Subcommittee Tuesday, Hanley said she's seeking $24.15 million, or "a little over 3 percent increase for level service." That excludes all but one of the 17 extra or replacement staff she said the district's curriculum council identified as priorities.

The exception is an English as a Second Language director at $70,000; the remaining jobs plus a Virtual Middle School program would require another $572,000. She said the state wants Southbridge to have an ESL director because it now has more than 200 students whose first language isn't English.

Some of those posts haven't been seen in years, while others now exist because of federal stimulus funding which vanishes this June. Despite those changes, Hanley said the district has been able to do a lot the state required for turn-around, including revising curriculum in seven areas, over the last five years.

"That was a critical piece for the turnaround plan," she said, noting the old system didn't mesh with the state standards "and we cannot be assured they're being exposed to the curriculum" with aligning it that way. But, even that has required some grant funding due to cuts in the last two years; "We haven't been able to fund it through the budget totally."

See Thursday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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