SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Springfield School Committee approved a budget of $501 million to expand services supporting the well-being of students during the coronavirus pandemic.
The $501 million budget is for Fiscal Year 2022 that becomes effective July 1. It allows the District to enhance its City Connect programming, that addresses social/emotional and other non-academic needs to students and their families.
Springfield Schools Superintendent Daniel Warwick says the budget will also allocate $6.8 million of Student Opportunity Act funds to schools to spend on evidence-based programs to support highest-need student groups. It will include increased personnel and services to support holistic student needs, inclusion/co-teaching for students with disabilities and English learners.
The Springfield School District will also be able to continue full time pre-kindergarten to four-year old’s and half-day pre-kindergarten for three-year old’s.
“We have faced difficulties in addressing competing financial priorities for decades, but COVID-19 further complicated the process of creating a financial blueprint that continues to build on successes while also aggressively addressing unprecedented issues.
We know that many of our students are worse off socially and emotionally because of the coronavirus pandemic. Many have grieved the loss of a loved one and others have suffered due to the isolation of learning from home. These are stark realities for students nationwide and we fully understand that addressing those issues as best we can is paramount to clearing the pathway for teaching and learning and beginning a return to some semblance of normality.
We have found that providing wrap-around services for students and their families has been a great value-add for the District. Under this new budget, we will be afforded the opportunity to offer these services to more families at a very critical time in our history as a school district, city, and nation.”Superintendent of Schools Daniel Warwick
Warwick pointed to charter school enrollments as the key factor behind the district’s deficit this year. The Central Office departments were tasked with cutting their budgets by three percent, while no reductions were imposed on schools.