On March 9th, superintendent Dr. Shaps presented his recommended budget for the 2017-2018 school year at the Mamaroneck Board of Education meeting. The recommended budget, which totals $135,277,639, represents an increase of 1.59% from the previous year.
Among many components of the recommended budget, one benefiting the high school is expanded elective pathways. The design, engineering, computer science and culinary arts programs will receive a boost, further improving their respective course sequences. In computer science and OSR, new teachers will be hired to meet growing demand.
Notable changes are also taking place outside the halls of the high school, as the district aims to increase its collaboration with outside institutions. One such partnership is with Yale University’s Center for Emotional Intelligence. Per a district press release, the goal of this program is to “pilot an elementary social and emotional intelligence framework.”
In the recommended budget, the change in programs is accompanied by a change in staffing. There is slated to be a net reduction of 17 staff members in the district, mainly driven by the elimination of 13 teacher aides.
A cut that has received a significant amount of attention is that of the APPLE program, which currently serves 47 high school students. Upset APPLE alumni started a petition addressed to Dr. Shaps and Ms. Clain on change.org, which has thus far received 145 signatures and several messages of support. According to a letter written by Dr. Shaps, the program was recommended to be eliminated “with an eye toward developing more individualized academic and therapeutic support initiatives for secondary students struggling with a range of emotional, academic and/or familial challenges.”
The next step for the 2017- 2018 budget will take place on April 18th, when the Board of Education will adopt a “proposed budget.”
By Jack Mollin