Principal’s Letter

Dear Zervas Families,

The superintendent of schools, Dr. David Fleishman, has recently presented his proposed budget for the next school year. Due to reduced revenues, there will be cuts to programs throughout the system, as well as increased fees. While we are able to maintain our core program in the arts, some of the cuts will impact our music and art programs.

Proposed cuts that will affect students at Zervas are…
-Art classes will be reduced from 60 minutes to 50 minutes each week.
-The separate 30 minute third grade recorder class will be eliminated, with recorder instruction occurring within the regular 30 minute music class that all third graders will continue to receive.
-Librarian coverage will be reduced by one half day. All students will continue to receive their regular library classes, but Erin Broderick will have less time to collaborate with teachers to support classroom curriculum and to manage the library.
-Fourth grade chorus will be eliminated.
-Zervas will lose three days of substitute coverage, which means we will need to use our regular staff more frequently to cover for teachers who are absent or attending meetings.

Proposed fee increases are…
-Raise the morning drop-off program fee from $8 to $12 per day.
-Institute a fee of $200 for 5th grade instrumental music.
-Institute a fee of $200 for students participating in the All City Band or chorus.
-Reinstate bus fees.
-Building rental fees will also go up, which could have an effect on the after school program costs.

Unfortunately, these programming cuts will affect the education of our students. The superintendent worked closely with principals to create a budget which maintains key instructional supports and maintains favorable class sizes, and tried to limit the impact of these cuts on students as much as possible. The budget proposal is being reviewed by the school committee, and there could be changes in the final budget. Watch the Newton Schools calendar for upcoming public forums concerning the budget.

Included in Dr. Fleishman’s budget proposal for next year is a co-taught classroom in next year’s fourth grade at Zervas. This class will be taught by one of our fourth grade teachers and a new full-time special education teacher who will work only with the students in this classroom. The classroom will be comprised of 1/3 of the students on Individualized Education Plans (IEP’s) and 2/3 solely regular education children. We will “trade-in” 3 of our classroom aides currently working with our students and replace them with a full time special education teacher and a full time intern. This means that this class will have 3 adults at all times, with 2 of the adults being fully certified teachers who will share the job of teaching these students. This model has been very successfully implemented at other schools in Newton, and we are excited to develop this model at Zervas. This will allow us to meet the needs of a variety of students within the regular education classroom. We will be able to differentiate the instruction of the students in this class, and provide whole class, small group, and individual instruction as needed. One of our current fourth grade teachers will teach this class, along with another teacher who we will hire this spring.

We will be discussing the budget and the new co-taught classroom at our next School Council meeting, which will take place on Wednesday night, April 6, at 7:00 pm in the library. Please join us to learn more about these proposals.

The Annual Zervas School Variety Shows are coming soon! Kindergarten through third graders who have signed up with Mr. Mignone will perform on April 5th and fourth and fifth graders will perform on April 7th. This is a terrific night of talent and entertainment, so be part of the audience whether you have a child performing or not.


Steve Griffin