Newton Schools Could Cut Up to 74 Jobs, Superintendent Says

Schools in Newton, Massachusetts, are facing a massive budget gap and dozens of jobs may be on the line, according to Superintendent David Fleishman, but teachers are asking why this is happening despite the city having $38 million in funds from the American Rescue Plan

NBC Universal, Inc.

Staffing cuts could be on the horizon at schools in Newton, Massachusetts. The district said it is facing a massive budget gap and jobs could be on the line.

At a school committee meeting this week, Superintendent David Fleishman said the district could cut as many as 74 positions next year.

He said part of it is due to declining enrollment, but most of it is due to higher costs for things like transportation, insurance and substitutes. The district is also spending more to start and expand special education.

"We have a very challenging budget year ahead," Fleishman told the committee.

The head of the Newton Teachers Association said he knows the money has to come from somewhere, but he does not understand why it cannot come from the American Rescue Plan funds the city received from the federal government to aid with pandemic relief.

"When they come to us and said they don't have the money, it's really hard to believe that when they have $38 million remaining in unallocated ARPA funds," said Mike Zilles, the president of the Newton Teachers Association.

Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller released a statement in response to the potential layoffs. She said the city has allocated millions of dollars from its pandemic relief funds to the schools. She also said the district’s budget is increasing by 3.5% over last year's budget while other city departments are getting only a 3% increase.

"We continue to work closely with NPS leadership and the School Committee to find additional ways that ARPA or other funding may be appropriate," the mayor wrote.

Newton's superintendent was not available to speak with NBC10 Boston, but he apologized to school staff in an email earlier this week.

"I am truly sorry to share this news and will do everything possible to address this most daunting challenge in a transparent, thoughtful and compassionate manner," he said in the email.

Alison Lobron, who has two students in Newton Public Schools, said she is concerned for the future of education in the city. She is part of the Newton Teachers Association Parent Educator Collaborative, which will be hosting a community meeting on the proposed cuts next week.

"This is in nobody's best interest. This is not in the best interest of the educations. This is not in the best interest of the students and it is not in the best interest of the city," Lobron said.

Contact Us