Weymouth: Residents lash out at school department underfunding at town meeting

There was a very sparse turnout for Weymouth Town Meeting Monday night.

Mayor Sue Kay presented her proposal for a $143.7 million fiscal year 2015 operating budget, with $60.1 million going to the school department.

Fire, police, public works and schools are all funded below their level service funding requests in the budget. The school department is $497,000 less than level service.

Some residents lashed out at the underfunding. One parent said that in some classes his kids don’t even have a place to sit or a book to read.

“I have a seventh grader in a history class, where eight students are sitting on the ledge because there aren’t enough desks in the room, which is a two-fold problem. A; there’s too many students in there, and B; not enough furniture for them to put their butts in so that they can learn.

I have a tenth grader who’s in AP History. Those kids do not have AP History books. The teacher Xeroxes chapters and hands them out to the children. Now, you’re talking about the kids that are theoretically in the upper echelon, who are more than likely to sit down with a book and read ahead, and they’re working off of Xerox copies. That stuff is just crazy!” the parent said.

Weymouth Mayor Sue Kay responded after the meeting and said, “That somebody does not have a seat, is ridiculous! There were raises given. The superintendent was given a healthy raise after being there a year. I don’t begrudge that. But these are choices that the school committee makes. There should be not student who doesn’t have a seat. I find that outrageous! There should be no student who doesn’t have a book. So maybe there are priorities that need to be looked at within the school department budget also.”

About John Penny

John Penny is a town news reporter at WATD. He primarily covers stories in the towns of Marshfield, Cohasset, Scituate, Norwell, Hingham, Abington and Quincy.