May 25, 2024

Seekonk School Budget Approved

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The Seekonk School FY’25 budget was approved by a vote of 3 to 2 at Monday’s school committee meeting. The total budget is $32.7 million, a 3.1 percent increase compared to the current fiscal year’s budget.

Chairperson Meaghan Mahoney, Kyle Juckett, and Alicia MacManus voted in favor, with Lisa Rizzo and Emily Field in opposition.

At a previous meeting, Superintendent Rebecca Kidwell noted 3.5 positions would be eliminated, including a part-time librarian at Hurley Middle School, two teachers at Seekonk High School, and one community coach in the Transitions Academy.

In addition, Kidwell said vacant positions including instructional aides at Hurley and the high school and one teacher at both schools and Aitken elementary, will not be filled.

“Whether you vote (on the budget) or not tonight, a sizable number of (Seekonk Educators Association) members will be getting pink slips later this week because that is the contractual deadline for them to be informed that we may not be able to fund their positions next year,” Kidwell noted. “We’re trying not to cause anyone any undue stress, but we have to provide this appropriate notification contractually.”

There was discussion about potentially larger class sizes at Aitken Elementary School as a result of condensing sections in Grade 4.

“I still have a concern about class sizes,” said member Emily Field. “I’m still not comfortable with 26 plus students in a class. I think we need to collaborate on this more. I think the whole committee has given guidance that we want to keep class sizes down. I think we’re not all on the same page quite yet.”

The budget will be voted on at the Spring Town Meeting in May. The town warrant is closed, but Kidwell explained that it’s possible a different budget figure could be proposed from the floor.

“We can reconfigure this in different ways in the foreseeable future as needed,” Juckett said.

“This is a snapshot, this was a moment that allows us to take some steps forward, but it’s not the end of the story,” Kidwell added.

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