Williamstown Elementary School officials on Monday continued to face questions about their decision to restructure the school's special education program.
Although Side-by-Side was not on the committee's agenda, two of the most outspoken critics of last spring's decision took the opportunity to raise the issue during the meeting's public comment period.
The elementary school district is on track to finish the fiscal year in the black — but not by much.
"We're pulling into the gas pumps on fumes in terms of the operation budget," Business Manager Nancy Rauscher told the School Committee at its monthly meeting on Wednesday.
The politics of preschool officially graduated to high school on Tuesday night.
The Side-By-Side special education program at Williamstown Elementary School became a topic for discussion at the monthly meeting of the Mount Greylock Regional School Committee.
The opening came when the Williamstown-Lanesborough Tri-District's Director of Pupil Personnel Services gave the committee a periodic updates on the special education program at Mount Greylock.
Town meeting on Tuesday night approved the elementary school's requested fiscal 2017 budget- after cutting it by a symbolic $27.
There had been concerns that the $6 million budget would be "held hostage" by constituents angry at the reductions made to the school's Side-By-Side special education preschool program. But opponents expressed their displeasure with an amendment that cut the school's funding by $1 for every year that Side-By-Side has existed.
The Finance Committee on Monday voted 6-2 to recommend that the annual town meeting approve the amended elementary school budget passed last week by the School Committee.
After more than two hours of discussion that frequently veered off into conversations on pedagogy despite the best efforts of Chairman Michael Sussman, a majority of the panel decided not to second guess the conclusion of the administration and School Committee and instead endorse the request for an additional $58,424.
The Elementary School Committee on Wednesday approved a plan to add a third half-day session to the school's Side-By-Side special education preschool program.
In a unanimous vote, the committee agreed to ask the town for an additional $58,424 on the budget it approved earlier this spring. The school is seeking about $6.14 million from the town for fiscal 2017, a 6.35 percent increase over this year.
Williamstown Elementary School is adding a third half-day section to its Side-By-Side preschool program, a move school officials hope will ease some of the concerns that have riled the community in recent weeks.
Superintendent Douglas Dias said on Friday that the decision to add the third section was driven by a desire to accommodate all families who had applied for the program.
Seeing these two meetings unfold at the nearly the same time, (1 hour or so at the Planning Board, 45 minutes at School Committee meeting, and then back to Planning Board for another hour) I was struck by their similarities and their startling differences.
Four members of the Williamstown School Committee on Thursday again explained their reasons for supporting a fiscal 2017 budget that includes a reduction to the school's popular preschool program.
At a special meeting originally rescheduled from April 13, the committee members explained why they did not oppose the school administration's decision to eliminate the full-day option for Side-By-Side.
Budget season for Williamstown Elementary School has seen a number of twists and turns since an initial budget presentation to the School Committee back in February.
But one thing remains consistent: the decision to scale back the school's prekindergarten program by eliminating a full-day option.
Williamstown Elementary School Superintendent Douglas Dias faced a crowd of about 70 people on Thursday evening to explain the constraints that are shaping the district's fiscal 2017 budget.
The elementary school is facing cuts that include two teachers, four paraprofessionals, several enrichment programs and the reduction of its pre-kindergarten Side by Side program from the current full-day program to two half-day sessions.