Shrewsbury has a decision to make on the June 3rd over-ride vote. We are currently letting our once outstanding schools be dismantled. I have seen significant cuts to the schools each year since my 9th grader started 1st grade and the cuts started many years before that.
Per student expenditure in Shrewsbury is bottom 11% in the state. Our resources spent per pupil are bottom 2%. We rank 390th out of 403 school districts in student/teacher ratio. We have allowed our schools to become impoverished, even though our town is affluent. Our MCAS scores have declined, causing a downgrade of the schools from Level 1 to Level 2. Our taxes are thousands of dollars less a year than surrounding towns and Shrewsbury will remain one lowest tax rates in the area even if the over-ride passes. Our town has been amazing at doing a lot with a little, but we have hit the breaking point.
I encourage you to go the MA Department of Education website to see where we fall for per student expenditure in Shrewsbury. We are $2,364 below the state average and spend far less per pupil than less affluent towns such as Fall River, New Bedford, Lawrence, Lowell, Framingham, Springfield, Holyoke and Worcester. When you break this down we are significantly below the state average in expenditures for administration, professional development, resources and YES even insurance and retirement costs per pupil,($1356 per pupil Shrewsbury vs state average at $2364).
More heartbreaking than the statistics is what is I see as a parent. Oversized classrooms mean that many children’s questions remain unanswered, raised hands are rarely called on, one on one teacher support is almost non-existent and writing skills are failing. The basic education that younger children need to move to the higher grades successfully is being eroded.
If the over-ride fails there will be more cuts to our beleaguered system. Our vote on June 3rd will determine the future of our schools and our community. Families that value education are already leaving. Parents that care about the schools for their children will choose other towns. The fabric of our community will change. I urge you to do your research and vote yes on June 3rd.