Brookline School Committee Tackles Budget Cuts and Inclusivity Issues

The Brookline School Committee recently held a meeting addressing budgetary challenges for Fiscal Year 2025, including a debate over proposed cuts to staff positions and programs, alongside urgent calls for increased gender-neutral facilities at Brookline High School. The meeting, which featured a blend of budget discussions, public comments, and administrative updates, highlighted the community’s concern for both fiscal responsibility and the promotion of inclusivity within the school district.

A central focus of the meeting was the FY 2025 budget update, which outlined a possible $3.5 million deficit that necessitated a reconsideration of expenditures across various areas. Proposed reductions included staffing adjustments, curtailment of supplies and services, and reconsideration of special education transportation. The administration presented these proposals in priority order, with the anticipation that such measures would help bridge the financial gap.

One of the more contentious budgetary topics discussed was the potential introduction of world languages at the middle and high school levels, which could lead to the reduction of 12.6 positions and over a million dollars in savings. This reduction would impact programming at the K-5 level, potentially affecting class sizes and the overall student educational experience. The committee examined the rationale behind these reductions, emphasizing the importance of literacy coaching and educational technology support for students. Concerns were also raised about the impact of offering world languages in grades 6-8 on early literacy and social studies instruction in K-5.

The potential reduction of World Language instruction from kindergarten through fifth grade sparked considerable debate. Committee members explored the idea of starting World Language instruction in grade six to align with the Middle School model, which would allow for additional social studies time in grade five. The feasibility of offering a supplemental language program outside of regular school hours was also discussed as a possible solution.

Advertisement

Moreover, there was a discussion about the practicality of consolidating classrooms in elementary schools due to enrollment fluctuations. Concerns were raised that maximizing class sizes could compromise the quality of student experiences. The potential reduction of educational technology specialists prompted worries about the loss of vital support for both teachers and students.

Public comment played a role in the meeting, particularly regarding the need for more gender-neutral bathrooms at Brookline High School. A student’s notable commentary on the necessity of inclusive facilities for genderqueer students catalyzed a discussion among committee members, who expressed unanimous agreement on improving current amenities to better serve all students. The conversation was underscored by the mention of a tragic incident in Oklahoma.

The need for diversity, equity, and inclusion was further emphasized by a group of 119 parents who called for a committed effort to support equity work, including funding for an equity audit and the appointment of equity specialists in each school. They also advocated for the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty and training to address racism and bias.

Advertisement

A parent and staff member challenged the committee to rethink the proposed budget cuts, highlighting the town’s surplus and reserve funds as evidence against a financial crisis. They argued for collective action to ensure education is adequately funded and protected from unwarranted reductions. Additionally, community members voiced support for an equity audit and strategic budget allocations to reflect the district’s values.

Finally, the committee was confronted with criticism regarding their decision on deleveling 9th-grade English. A speaker suggested that the voices of alumni and the English department in favor of deleveling had been overlooked. They urged the committee to fund the equity collaboration team and leaders in all schools to foster systemic change.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Superintendent:
Linus J. Guillory Jr.
School Board Officials:
David Pearlman, Andy Liu, Helen Charlupski, Steven Ehrenberg, Suzanne Federspiel, Valerie Frias, Natalia Linos, Sarah Moghtader, Mariah Nobrega

Receive debriefs about local meetings in your inbox weekly:

Trending meetings
across the country:

Meeting Date
Filter by bodytypes
Agricultural Advisory Committee
Airport Advisory Board
Art and Culture Board
Beach Committee
Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee
Board of Elections
Board of Health
Borough Council
Building Committee
Cannabis Control Board
Cemetery Commission
Charter Revision Commission
Child and Family Services Board
City Council
City Identity Committee
Code Enforcement Board
College Board of Trustees
Community Appearance Board
Community Preservation Committee
Community Redevelopment Agency
County Council
Disability Advisory Committee
Economic Development Board
Elderly Affairs Board
Electric Advisory Board
Environmental Commission
Financial Oversight Board
Historic Preservation Commission
Housing Authority
Human Relations Committee
Insurance Fund
Land Use Board
Library Board
Licensing Board
Mental Health Commission
Municipal Alliance
Open Space Commission
Oversight and Review Committee
Parking Authority
Parks and Gardens Commission
Parks Commission
Pension Board
Planning Board
Planning Board,Zoning Board
Police Review Board
Property Assessment Board
Public Safety Committee
Recreation Commission
Redevelopment Agency
Rent Leveling Board
School Board
Sewerage Authority
Shade Tree Commission
Special Magistrate
Taxation & Revenue Advisory Committee
Tourism Board
Trails Committee
Transportation Board
Utility Board
Value Adjustment Board
Veterans Committee
Water Control Board
Women's Advisory Committee
Youth Advisory Committee
Zoning Board
Filter by County
FL
Bay County
Bradford County
Brevard County
Broward County
Clay County
Duval County
Escambia County
Gulf County
Highlands County
Hillsborough County
Indian River County
Lake County
Lee County
Leon County
Levy County
Liberty County
Manatee County
Marion County
Martin County
Miami-Dade County
Monroe County
Okaloosa County
Orange County
Osceola County
Palm Beach County
Pasco County
Pinellas County
Polk County
Putnam County
Santa Rosa County
Sarasota County
Seminole County
St. Johns County
Taylor County
Volusia County
Walton County
MA
Barnstable County
Berkshire County
Bristol County
Essex County
Franklin County
Hampden County
Hampshire County
Middlesex County
Norfolk County
Plymouth County
Suffolk County
Worcester County
NJ
Atlantic County
Bergen County
Burlington County
Camden County
Cape May County
Cumberland County
Essex County
Gloucester County
Hudson County
Hunterdon County
Mercer County
Middlesex County
Monmouth County
Morris County
Ocean County
Passaic County
Somerset County
Sussex County
Union County
Warren County
Filter by sourcetypes
Minutes
Recording