Educate Hopkinton has compiled a chart of district comparison data for your reference, which we have recently posted to our website. School districts that are similar to Hopkinton include: Belmont, Burlington, Canton, Duxbury, Holliston, Marblehead, Medfield, Scituate, Sharon, Westborough and Westwood. While Hopkinton is very similar to these towns, one statistic that stood out was that 23% of Hopkinton’s population is children enrolled in the public schools, in many similar towns a much smaller percentage of the population was enrolled in the schools, this may be because they have more residents without school-age children or may be because more children in those towns attend private schools. Only Medfield had a higher percentage with 24% of its population enrolled in the public schools. http://www.educatehopkinton.com/pdf/Hopkinton_Compared_to_Similar_Districts_09-25-11.pdf
Status Quo Maintained for Next Year
- Maintains current class sizes, which are already higher than recommended. Class size will range from 20-24 students at the elementary levels and 22 to 23 per classroom at the Middle School.* At the High School, the percentage of classes with over 25 students should remain constant at around 18%. The one exception is 2nd grade, where a new teacher will be added to decrease the class size in 2nd grade next year.
- Supports Strategic Plan initiatives
- Full-day kindergarten pilot
- Virtual learning
- Curriculum improvements
- 4.0 Remedial math tutors have been added for FY11 to provide interventions for students
- Improved district communications
- Maintains all current curricula and extra-curricular programs, including
- 5th Grade Instrumental Music
- Freshman sports
- Middle School related arts
- High School guidance staff
- Maintains all fees at current levels
- Maintains all special education services
* Please keep in mind that we cannot predict how many new children may move into the district over the summer. Last year 37 new students unexpectedly enrolled in Center School over the summer. Class sizes could increase considerably if this happens again.
In April, the Hopkinton School Committee and Hopkinton Teachers’ Association reached an agreement for a one year contract. Pursuant to that agreement, teachers employed by Hopkinton Public Schools will receive a zero percent pay increase for the 2010-2011 school year. Teachers also agreed to defer step increases until Fiscal Year 2012, and to eliminate a retention bonus teachers receive upon six years of service. For its part, the School Committee agreed to pay teachers a one-time $1200 payment to each teacher. The payment, however, will only be applied to the salary base of the highest step on the teachers’ scale.
Class Sizes are Still High, No Previously Lost Programs Have Been Reinstated Yet
This year’s school budget avoided making harmful cuts to staff and programs that directly affect the quality of our children’s education. But the budget did not enable the district to reinstate programs, services or staff that had been eliminated in prior years’ budget cuts. For example, classes at Center, Elmwood and Hopkins will consist of up to 24 students. Yet the latest research indicates that class size has the greatest impact at the elementary level and recommends class sizes of fewer than 20 students. The research further indicates that the gains are greatest the more years students are in smaller classes and indicates the gains are retained through the upper grades. Smaller class size also helps elementary students more quickly assimilate the rules of school culture, results in more individual attention, increases rates of student participation, reduces class disruptions, and improves children’s self-esteem.
In addition, Hopkinton falls below the state average in per-pupil spending. Based on the latest figures released by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Office of School Finance, Hopkinton’s total per pupil expenditure for FY 09 was $11,560 while the state average was $13,063, a difference of $1,503.
The FY12 Budget Season will be here before you know it. As always, please encourage your friends and neighbors to sign up for Educate Hopkinton blog updates at: http://ehop01748.org/.
School Facts: How have budget cuts over recent years impacted Hopkinton Schools?
Per Pupil Spending
Hopkinton spends 11.5% less in per pupil than the state average (that’s approximately $1,503 less), based on FY09 data on the Massachusetts Department of Education website. In FY06, Hopkinton was only 5.9% under the state average. Hopkinton also spends less per pupil than most neighboring towns, including Ashland, Holliston, Northboro-Southboro and Westborough. In addition Hopkinton spends less per pupil than most towns with similar structure and district wealth, such as Belmont, Burlington, Canton, Nashoba and Sharon.
School Choice & Charter Schools
Did you know that for the 2009-10 School Year, Hopkinton sent 41 students out of district via the Massachusetts School Choice Program and/or to Charter Schools at a mandated cost of $235,371 to Hopkinton taxpayers? More Hopkinton families opted to send their children out of district this year than families in Holliston, Southborough and Westborough. The number of Hopkinton students opting to go out of district via School Choice has been steadily increasing since the 2005-06 school year.
Class sizes in the elementary grades are currently higher than most surrounding school districts. Did you know that both Elmwood School and Hopkins School currently have empty classrooms? If another teacher was added at each school class sizes could be significantly reduced.
Did you know that Hopkinton Public Schools do not offer any foreign language instruction until grade 7? It used to be offered as early as grade 5. Most neighboring school districts offer foreign language earlier than Hopkinton, some offering it as early as Kindergarten.
State of the Schools Forum
Wednesday, April 7 at 7:00-9:00 p.m.
HCAM-TV, 77 Main Street, Lower LevelQuestion and answer session with Superintendent Dr. Jack Phelan and School Committee Vice Chair Rebecca Robak. Call 508-435-7887 during the show with your questions and concerns or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org in advance or during the show. Space is Limited! Click here to RSVP. Or watch at home on Comcast Channel 8/Verizon Channel 30.
The Next Steps in the Budget Process:
The budget has been given to the Appropriations Committee who are in the process of reviewing the budget in detail. The Appropriations Committee will hold a Public Hearing on the budget on Wednesday, April 14 at 7:00 p.m. at Town Hall in the 1st Floor Conference Room. This hearing is NOT televised, but is open to the public. Residents will vote on the budget and the financial warrant articles at the annual Town Meeting, which begins Monday, May 3 at 7:00pm.