Petitions & Other Action Steps for the NPS Budget

Many Peirce caregivers have reached out to the PTO asking how they can advocate for the schools during the NPS budgeting process. In brief, due to a $4.9 million funding gap, the proposed NPS budget for the 2023-24 school year makes systemwide cuts at all levels (scroll down for a summary of the elementary cuts). The NPS budget presentation slides and other FY24 budget documents are available here

Below are action steps you can take – ranging from signing petitions to writing to decision-makers – to make your voice heard.  

NOTE: The next School Committee meeting about the 2023-24 budget and the Brezski proposal for alternative funding options will be held on Monday, April 24th at 6:30 p.m. 

Most Impactful Budget Cuts for Elementary Schools:

  1. Increased class sizes of 25 to 28 students in 12 classrooms across 5 schools (Mason-Rice, Zervas, Memorial-Spaulding, Countryside and Peirce)
    1. Peirce’s rising 5th grade class is slated to go from 3 classrooms to 2 classrooms.
  2. Only 1 Kindergarten aide for 2 classrooms (previously 1 aide per classroom)
  3. Elimination of the elementary strings and orchestra program. 
  4. Elimination of funding for disability awareness programming, currently offered by Understanding Our Differences. 

As expected, there are also significant cuts proposed for our middle schools, including F.A. Day, the middle school Peirce students attend.  The middle school principals recently sent a note to their communities detailing the impact of these cuts which can be found here.  

ACTION: Petition for Smaller Class Sizes.

Elementary and middle school parents have co-authored this Petition to Protect Class Sizes urging the School Committee not to approve the proposed budget-based staffing reductions, and instead to employ any and all available financial options (such as the Brezski proposal) to alleviate the proposed increases to class sizes. To “sign” this petition, click on the link above and enter your information.

ACTION: Petition to Save Newton Strings.

Here are some ways to support and advocate specifically for the elementary strings and orchestra program, which will be cut due to the NPS budget shortfall:

  1. Sign the petition started by Save Newton Strings. (Scroll down and click on ‘Sign the Petition.’)
  1. On Monday, April 24th, NPS Orchestra and Strings students will gather for Stringfest, a concert to advocate for the restoration of the Elementary Strings Programs. We urge everyone, whether enrolled in the program or not, to come out in support of our students and educators. String-positive signs encouraged!

ACTION: Write to the Mayor

The Mayor has full discretion to determine funding allocation within the city budget.  As a practical matter, she makes an allocation to NPS and delegates specific spending decisions to the Superintendent and the School Committee.  

Since the proposed operating override failed, another source of funding must be identified to bridge the NPS budget gap of nearly $5 million to restore some or all of the proposed cuts to the schools. This would require Mayor Fuller to change existing funding allocations, reallocate funds, and/or utilize one-time funds such as ARPA funding. People have been thinking creatively about how to address the budget shortfall in the short-term and in the long-term, including School Committee Member Brezski who submitted a proposal to the School Committee for their consideration. To share your opinion on the issue of insufficient funding for NPS with the Mayor, contact her directly at [email protected].

You can also meet with the Mayor during her next office hour when she talks to constituents on Wednesday April 26 from 4:00-5:30 p.m.  To get on her calendar, contact Sam Nighman at [email protected] or call (617) 796-1110 during the posted time periods. 

ACTION:  Write to the School Committee & Interim Superintendent Kathy Smith.

The School Committee is the governing body for the school system that approves the NPS budget and will be considering Committee Member (and Peirce parent) Chris Brezski’s proposal for how to supply more funding to the NPS operating budget. Each committee member represents a specific ward.  Peirce is in Ward 3, which is represented by Anping Shen. Chris Brezski represents Ward 2. You should feel free to contact any/all of the members with your concerns and feedback.   

You can also contact Interim Superintendent Kathy Smith to share your thoughts and perspective on which line items NPS should restore should additional funds become available. 

ACTION:  Write to the City Council.

The City Council will vote on a proposed change in the pension liability funding schedule, which would free up money that could go to the NPS budget.  If you would like to encourage the City Council to figure out how to provide full funding for the NPS budget, share your opinion with your City Councilors.

Peirce is within Ward 3, which is represented by:

Andrea Kelley, (857) 297-2177, [email protected] 

Pam Wright, (617) 559-0807, [email protected] 

Ward Councilor Julia Malakie, (617) 610-2509, [email protected]

If you don’t know which ward you live in, here’s the map. For the full list of City Councilors and contact information, click here.