Brookline School Committee honors groups and discusses 2023 budget



The Brookline School Committee (BSC) convened virtually on Jan. 20 at 6:15 p.m. to show appreciation for all nurses in Public Schools of Brookline and to discuss potential plans for next year’s budget.

The Brookline School Committee (BSC) convened virtually via Zoom on Jan. 20 at 6:15 p.m. to highlight thriving groups throughout the district and discuss plans for next year’s budget.

Superintendent Dr. Linus Guillory awarded the Spotlight on Excellence Award, which highlights different individuals and organizations throughout the school community to the entire nursing team of the Public Schools of Brookline (PSB) for their work and dedication to combat the various challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Guillory said the nurses throughout the district are truly incredible for the increased responsibilities they have taken on.

“Every year, our nurses are an integral part of the foundations that strengthen our community,” Guillory said. “However, during a worldwide pandemic, the added value they bring to our school community is truly beyond measure. As the pandemic made its way through, they are always there for constant leadership and advice towards students and staff alike. We are indebted to them for their tireless and skillful work.”

Coordinator of Student Health Services Tricia Laham introduced some of the members of the school nursing team. Driscoll School nurse Marianne Dewing said the communication between different members of the schools, such as Guillory’s weekly updates, has been key to helping all of the nursing staff.

“I believe communication is key, and I am thankful for how transparent we have all been as a district and helping us,” Dewing said.

Head of School Anthony Meyer and Assistant Head of School Hal Mason introduced two additional courses to the high school’s course catalog. One is a visual arts course called, “Arts, Books and Visual Journals” and the other is a new unleveled math course called, “Data Science for Social Justice.” Both courses are planned to be offered to students next year.

Deputy Superintendent for Administration and Finance Samuel Rippin reviewed the 2nd Quarter Financial Report and Proposed Adjustment as well as the The Superintendent’s FY 2023 Budget Request slideshow presentations.

Rippin said FY 2021 and FY 2022 were effectively the same in budget before funding from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) came in.

Deputy Superintendent for Administration and Finance Samuel Rippin said this year’s funds from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) made FY 2021 and FY 2022 offset in their budget comparisons. (LUCA KELLEY NIELSEN/SAGAMORE STAFF)

“The ESSER funds that came in were to allow the system to tread water. That is one time money and that money can carry for fiscal years past 2022, however when I came in with Dr. Guillory, there was an expectation that every penny [of the ESSER funding] was going to be used this year,” Rippin said. “Thankfully however, because of other sources of revenue and circumstances, we were able to take $1 million of those funds and save them for later years.”

Guillory said the rationale (slide 19) for the FY 2023 budget comes down to the core values of the district, and is not necessarily related to the financial restrictions the district endures.

“We believe this budget will assist with the mitigation of the pandemic impact and will stabilize our district financially, and we will grow and add in any areas and categories that need more support,” Guillory said. “Additionally, this budget will create more equitable access, process and treatment for our district, which is one of the main drivers and goals for us.”

BSC member Steven Ehrenberg, who has been exploring the possibility of introducing a community panel on environmental awareness and equity to the BSC, alongside seniors Neda Sabeva and Brian Ly, opened a discussion on the matter.

Ehrenberg said establishing and organizing a panel about environmental equity and awareness could preserve projects local climate activists have worked on for so long.

“This is an opportunity that the school committee has to institutionalize some of the work that people like Roger Grande have begun so that the initiatives that he started don’t die with him, and there is structural backbone to this,” Ehrenberg said.

Ly said the various challenges of climate change have long lasting and serious impacts on the lives of students throughout the district.

“As a student, I sometimes find it challenging to focus on school work when I have my mind swirling about our climate crisis,” Ly said. “Generally, there are many commitments for teachers to teach about climate change. I have been trying to improve composting at the high school, but students do not even know sometimes what the difference is between it and recycling. Climate change also intersects with structural racism and that cannot be ignored.”