Looking Back on 2011: Newsworthy Stories in Newton Schools
We recap the top five school stories that impacted Newton in 2011.
Throughout this week, we'll be looking back at some of the most read stories from the year gone-by. Today, we're recapping the top five Newton school-related stories that brought you, the readers, to our site.
If you're new to Newton Patch, these recaps will be a way to familiarize yourself with what Patch has been up to during 2011. If you're a longtime reader, this is your chance to reminisce. The stories below are in no particular order.
1. Schools, Newton Teachers Association agree on contracts
After a year without a contract and deciding to forego scheduled raises at the start of the school year, the Newton Teachers Association (NTA) agreed to a three-year deal with the School Committee in late October. The contract was officially signed on Oct. 31 and details were released regarding the changes to health insurance and annual raises, or "step increases."
2. The sprinkler curveball
After deciding in late 2010 to add four modular classrooms at three crowded elementary schools and expanding F.A. Day Middle School, the School Committee learned early this year that a new sprinkler law would add on significant cost to their plans. The law, which requires sprinkler systems to be installed throughout buildings that undergo renovations, will add on an estimated $4 million to the project, which was initially budgeted at $5 million. Mayor Setti Warren has said the city's Capital Improvement Plan will pick up the cost of both the project construction and sprinkler installation.
3. Trinity Catholic announces merge with Mount Saint Joseph Academy
On Sept. 28, Trinity Catholic High School announced its plans to merge with Mount Saint Joseph Academy in Brighton. The two schools will form Saint Joseph Preparatory High School, which will open on the Mount Saint Joseph Academy campus in fall 2012.
4. Newton Public Schools' fiscal 2012 budget
Facing one of its toughest budget cycles in recent history, the Newton School Committee had to close a $4.4 million budget gap in fiscal 2012. The committee was forced to make tough decisions on what to cut, eventually eliminating some special education, arts, music and language programs, among others. Moreover, the committee decided to add in a slew of new student activity fees as well as increased fees for sports, hoping to put back $1 million into the budget. Eventually, with some state aid coming back to the schools, the committee was able to add back some high school positions and middle school Latin courses.
5. The future of Angier Elementary
As it celebrated its 90th birthday this year, the aging Angier Elementary School was (and still is) on the minds of many school and city officials. With a facilities study showing that it should be replaced, Mayor Setti Warren announced in November that the city's Capital Improvement Plan prioritizes renovation/reconstruction of Angier. However, Warren said the city will have to find an additional revenue source for the project, and has since formed a working group to assess funding options.
Check out other 2011 recaps we've done this week: