By Kate Anslinger
A group of parents and educators attended Monday night’s School Committee meeting on a mission to save the ESP’s (Education Support Personnel).
“We need to find a way to prevent the loss of ESP’s in the classroom,” said East Boston educator and Winthrop parent Lisa Schad. “Money shouldn’t be cut from those that are the most vulnerable. If our children are not given this opportunity, they will rise up to the first grade without reading skills. By eliminating aids you are setting up children to not be as successful as they could be,” said Schad, as she spoke about the strong expectation to read in the first grade. Several other parents echoed her statements.
Fort Banks Kindergarten teacher, Mary Gail Murphy was present, to voice her concerns over the loss of her ESP. “If I lose Miss Donna Moore (ESP), I don’t know what will happen. It’s a shame we have to cut budgets at the risk of our youngest,” said Murphy. “Please keep my partner with me because it is hugely important that we stay strong and do the best that we can do for our children.”
At last week’s budget sub-committee meeting, which was also well attended by parents, there was discussion about bringing the ESP’s back into the classroom. After heavy consideration a motion was presented to bring four floating ESP’s back to the seven classrooms. At Monday night’s meeting, School Committee member Valentino Capobianco, withdrew the motion in hopes of finding a more agreeable solution.
The committee agreed to bring back seven ESP’s, fully staffing all seven kindergarten classrooms. In order to stay within the budget, there will be a reduction of two custodians.
“When the budget allows, filling the custodian positions will be my top priority,” said School Superintendent John Macero, who is dedicated to maintaining the upkeep of the school buildings.
The addition of an Operations Manager is expected to relieve some of the maintenance work, along with a new technology system that is designed to alert staff when upkeep is due.
“I think this was a real team effort and thank you Mr. Macero for hearing us out,” said Capobianco, at the close of the meeting. There was a combined sense of pride and relief, as parents and educators filed out of the room.
In other school committee business:
There will be a new school dedication on Sept. 22 at 7 pm, following community tours of the building at 6 pm.
Gypsy is now showing until June 26th. Tickets can be purchased at: http://www.winthropplaymakers.com/
The old middle school will be transferred over to the town on September 1, 2016
On July 2, the Viking Pride Foundation will host a celebration on Miller Field and tours of the new building starting at 6pm. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at: https://www.ticketriver.com/event/20088