Table of Contents (Direct Links to Articles):

Overrides, Real Estate Values, and How Our Schools Compare

An Article by Tom Rogers, published in the Hamilton Wenham Chronicle 4/30/2009

Paying To Play

Articles from the Boston Globe North, published 8/24/2008

Question #1

(Includes list of articles about Question #1)

Quick View:

Overrides, Real Estate Values, and How Our Schools Compare

An Article by Tom Rogers, published in the Hamilton Wenham Chronicle 4/30/2009

This time of year we are deluged with all sorts of information as we approach town meetings. For those that can handle a little more, I’ve assembled some data from credible sources.

This article includes:

Real Estate Stats for Hamilton and Wenham

Boston Magazine’s March issue focused on the Best Places to Live 2009. They took a look at changes over time in median single-family home and condo prices for 155 cities, towns, and neighborhoods in and around Boston. Data was provided by the Warren Group. I’ve taken the data from their online spreadsheet (see

Hamilton continues to show more strength than most towns surveyed, while Wenham is in the middle of the pack. In summary: [Click for more]

How Our Schools Compare – from “The Best Public High Schools”

Boston Magazine’s September 2008 ranked 141 public high schools in eastern MA. I’ve taken their data (see and filtered it in a number of ways (see tabs at bottom) so you can see how HWRSD compares. View this spreadsheet at [Click for more]

The Number of Teaching Positions Eliminated

I’ve been the unofficial keeper of the number of FTE’s (Full Time Equivalent positions) eliminated since the school budget came under fire in FY2002. You can view the spreadsheet at

Layoff History:

The layoffs started with our FY2002 budget, where we laid off 7 positions; in 2003 we lost another 7.2 FTE’s..

Things started to heat up for FY2004 when it was announced that we would have to layoff 63 teaching positions. This was the year that we had two attempted overrides which failed; Hamilton voted no, while Wenham voted yes. Faced with prospect of significant layoffs, a grass roots campaign called Support Our Students (SOS) came together and raised $214,780. This allowed the district to hire back 4.40 teaching positions. [Click for more]

Paying To Play

Articles from the Boston Globe North, published 8/24/2008

The soaring price of suiting up

The Hamilton-Wenham High School football team works out. The school’s $969 student fee to play football is the highest in the region. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)
Generals Practice

By Rich Fahey
Globe Correspondent / August 24, 2008

Hamilton-Wenham football games will cost close to $100 a pop this fall.That’s not for seats on the 50-yard line, but what players who suit up for the Generals pay to play: a $969 user fee, the highest for football in communities north of Boston.

Sports isn’t funded as part of the school budget. A combination of athletic fees, private fund-raising, and gate receipts provides 100 percent of the money, and athletic director Don Doucette has become a master at stretching the dollars.

“You’re going to see a lot more of this in the future,” said Doucette. “I’ll be a featured speaker out there some day, telling people how to do this and what to avoid.”

The original fee to play football at Hamilton-Wenham was about $1,400, but that was reduced to $969 by fund-raising and projected gate receipts.

Sticker Shock
Hamilton Wenham Sport Fee
Gloucester Sport Fee
SOURCE: Local school districts
George Patisteas/Globe Staff

Of the 32 public high schools in the area, 23 have sports user fees. Most are hefty, with some parents on the hook for more than $1,500 a year.

Click to read the full article, and to leave a comment. See also – Upping the ante – Sports user fees at high schools north of Boston.

Rich Fahey can be reached at [email protected].

For private institutions, costs pinch in tough economy

Private School Classroom

By Kathy McCabe
Globe Staff / August 24, 2008

Private high schools north of Boston are getting a tough lesson in economics.

Costs for fuel and supplies are rising. Enrollments are steady, but more students are also applying for financial assistance to pay hefty tuition bills. St. Mary’s High School in Lynn – where the $6,900 tuition is the least expensive in the region – received a record $800,000 in requests for aid for this school year.

“That’s significantly higher than last year,” said Ray Bastarache, head of the 575-student school. “We do the best we can, but we can’t give what we don’t have.”

The Governor’s Academy in Byfield – whose $41,300 bill for tuition, room, and board is the costliest in the region – had only a 2 percent increase in financial aid requests. But the 370-student school is able to offer financial help to just 25 percent of the student body, admissions director Peter Bidstrup said.

“We’re not need-blind, and very few schools are,” he said. “For a school of our size, to meet the full financial needs of the students who apply we’d have to double or triple our financial [aid pool] and that’s just not feasible.”

The demand for financial help has forced independent and Catholic high schools across the region to sharpen their pencils to control costs.

Click to read the full article, and to leave a comment

Kathy McCabe can be reached at [email protected].

Cash-strapped schools are passing on rising costs to students, in fees for everything from athletics to afterschool clubs to parking

Winthrop School Winthrop High School students (from left) Lauren Amaru, Sarah Ford, and Melissa MacNeil adjust stagelights. (MICHAEL DWYER FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE)

By Katheleen Conti
Globe Staff / August 24, 2008

A lot of fun – and power – comes with being part of the high school yearbook committee – the layout, the fonts, the candids, and overseeing memorabilia that will be treasured for a lifetime.

At Winthrop High School, about 30 students usually sign up for yearbook at the start of the school year, said Robin Kostegan, assistant principal and yearbook coordinator.

“When they realize how much work it is and how much it entails, it drops down to 10 or five,” Kostegan said.

This year’s participation rate might be even lower, as hard work is not the only price for working on the yearbook, or at any other afterschool activity. For the first time, Winthrop students will have to pay a fee to participate in nonathletic extracurricular activities.

“What’s going to happen?” Kostegan asked. “I may not have any kids.”

Winthrop is not alone.

A combination of expense increases and less state aid has forced area school district administratorsto impose fees.

For several districts, the trend started with athletics. Now, many charge for everything from drama club to parking. Click to read the full article, and to leave a comment

Katheleen Conti can be reached at [email protected].

© Copyright 2008 Globe Newspaper Company.

Question #1

On Nov. 4, Election Day, Massachusetts voters won’t just be choosing a new president. We’ll also be asked to decide whether we want to abolish our state income tax.

Articles About Question #1
Author | Publication | Date
Boston Globe Editorial 9/28/2008
Yvonne Abraham, Globe Columnist, 10/5/2008

While the prospect of having extra cash during these tight times is appealing, budget experts tell us the effect of this enormous amount of lost revenue to the state would be felt immediately and significantly in our towns and in our classrooms, to say nothing of its impact on healthcare, roads and bridges, and public safety. [Click to view whole article


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