Middle School Faces Significant Cuts
Parents discuss possibility of override
“We are doing a great disservice to our students,” said Ruggere during a parent forum at the middle school on Feb. 3.
Ruggere said during the meeting that class sizes could increase to 35 students in some cases with expected cuts to the school’s budget.
“The cuts just presented will only weaken the Ottoson Middle School,” said Ruggere. “These reductions will make it more difficult for Arlington students to compete with surrounding districts’ students.”
Amongst the cuts, Ruggere said the cluster and team model at the middle school would be eliminated, Science labs will not be able to run and chorus and music classes will be eliminated during school hours and be held before and after school starts.
“The result of this will mean a more difficult time in keeping track of students and they are more likely to fall between the cracks,” said Ruggere.
Over 20 parents packed into the Media Center at the Middle School and discussed the probability of approaching the Board of Selectmen to suggest an override to battle possible cuts to the budget.
“This is a repeat of last year and last year we chose not to go through with an override,” said a middle school parent. “At what point will it be the tipping point where we can’t even offer an education? At what point are our kids even getting an education? It will be less work and less testing and more crowd control.”
In order to pass an override the town’s Board of Selectmen would have to vote to put an override question on a special election ballot in the spring.
“These cuts are going to have effect on education throughout the district,” said Superintendent Kathleen Bodie.
According to Bodie, one problem the school will face is crowding, which will make it difficult to configure classroom desks.
“A number of teachers said they don’t know if they can get that many desk inside a classroom,” she said.
There is no fire code for a number of students in individual rooms, said Bodie.
Ruggere said additional cuts to foreign language classes and ”specials” will increase the number of studies students will have each week.
According to Ruggere’s presentation, students will have less one-on-one time with teachers; lack of individualized instruction and students will not get to know their teachers as well.
Bodie said an override would be ideal because the school district could determine a number that would sustain them over the next three to five years.
“Last year we were at the core, but this year we are even more at the core,” said Bodie.