MELROSE — At their meeting scheduled for Tuesday, April 12, the School Committee will hold a public hearing on the Melrose Public Schools’ administrative team’s FY23 proposed school budget.

The public is invited to attend.

The public hearing will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Melrose City Hall.

Earlier this year, as administrators and the School Committee were just beginning the creation of a new spending plan, Supt. of Schools Dr. Julie Kukenberger said there are unique challenges facing educators, students and parents.

“As we work collaboratively and transparently, both internally and externally, we must keep reminding ourselves that we are still in the throes of a global pandemic. Therefore, our focus for the FY23 fiscal year is to continue to build a fiscally responsible, student-centered budget that supports plans to accelerate learning for all students. We remain vigilant about educating the whole child, meeting our students’ and employees’ physical, social, emotional, academic, and mental well-being needs. Therefore, our FY23 budget theme will be focused on youth mental health, accelerating learning outcomes for all learners, and social-emotional well-being for all.

“Our FY23 MPS student-centered budget acknowledges the current fiscal and political climate in our community while also remaining focused on supporting progress toward rigorous and relevant learning for all. We do all of this while staying true to our mission to “provide and sustain a thriving and dynamic teaching and learning environment, preparing every student to excel in their authentic life and global citizenship, as supported by an engaged community.”

“The goal and purpose of our MPS FY23 budget proposal are to sustain our existing resources in ways that allow us to continue to make progress toward our strategic objectives and priorities. We also aim to position the District to make incremental investments in our response toward pandemic recovery while also being mindful of our students’ immediate and future needs. This strategic thinking will enable us to realize our long-range vision for continuous improvement. It will help educators design safe, supportive, and responsive student-centered learning environments where students own their learning and acquire the academic and social-emotional skills necessary to realize their unique potential. These combined skills will ensure that our students are able to contribute to their communities in meaningful ways.

“Our FY23 budget proposal will include necessary investments due to the ongoing growth in our community and our existing and incoming students’ unique demands.

“This budget is the culmination of a collaborative review of a line by line analysis of each responsibility center’s budgetary needs, discussion of now and anticipated student needs, input from our PreK-12 principals, along with the collective hard work invested by school and district level leaders of the Melrose Public Schools’ Administrative Team. The Administrative Team comprises the Superintendent, Director of Finance and Administrative Affairs, Assistant Superintendents, and Building Principals.

“In November 2021, the Administrative Team began to develop an FY23 budget that was fiscally responsible and aligned to our district priorities and goals. This multi-phased process allowed us first to analyze our “level services” budget and take in any possible reductions such as personnel turnover, staff reductions, and line item reductions. Next, the building and department leaders presented their new investment proposals to the PreK-12 Administrative Team, allowing the team to establish our FY23 budget priority list collaboratively.

Finally, we plan to present the Administrative Team’s FY23 budget proposal to the Melrose School Committee on Tuesday, February 8, 2022. Our February 8th presentation will be paying specific attention to what the FY23 budget allows us to accomplish and what needs are unmet within this budget proposal. We will include unmet needs to inform our community of investments that may need to be made in upcoming budget cycles….

“Indeed, we continue to navigate rapidly changing and unprecedented times. We can only begin to understand the magnitude and variety of needs our students will present as we develop our COVID-19 recovery plan. However, we must remain true to our mission and purpose of ensuring that all students can access a free and appropriate public education,” the superintendent stated in a message.