School Board members on March 20 took off the table three controversial budget proposals of Superintendent Patrick Murphy, and asked for more specificity before moving forward on a fourth.
Just moments before starting a public hearing on the budget proposal, one that had drawn a large number of speakers, School Board member Sally Baird announced three major budget proposals were essentially dead:
• Murphy’s proposal to consolidate the Langston-Brown High School Continuation Program with Arlington Mill High School.
• A proposal to reduce opportunities for immigrant students over age 22 to earn high-school diplomas.
• A recommendation to eliminate library aides at local elementary schools.
“We don’t seem to have the inclination to pursue” any of those proposals, Baird said.
School Board members also announced they were asking for more information from Murphy about his proposal to outfit all second- and sixth-graders with electronic devices (iPads and Chromebooks) as part of a literacy initiative.
Each of the proposals had drawn complaints from parents.
“There’s a lot of passion and a lot of strong feeling out there,” School Board Chairman Abby Raphael acknowledged.
Murphy on Feb. 25 proposed $539.4 million fiscal 2015 spending plan, seeking a 3.1-percent increase in overall spending from the current year’s adopted budget.
His proposed budget averages out to per-student spending of $19,244, up 2.9 percent from the superintendent’s budget proposal of a year ago.
School Board members are slated to adopt their fiscal 2015 budget in May.