Moving Forward After the Override Vote

Dear Reading Public School Community and the Greater Reading Community,

As you probably know by now, the ballot question for a Proposition 2 ½ override did not pass at last Tuesday’s town election.  On behalf of the students and staff of the Reading Public Schools, I certainly want to thank all the staff, parents, and community members who worked tirelessly during their personal time in an effort to support the schools and to engage in discussions regarding this important town issue.

As we now look ahead, I want to first reassure everyone that the result of Tuesday’s election does not have a financial impact on this current school year.  We are continuing to work diligently to provide the best education possible for our students and to support our staff with the resources that are available.  In preparation for next year’s FY18 School Department budget, we will follow the normal budget process over the next several weeks and work closely with administrators, town officials, and School Committee members to determine the financial impact of this vote and how it will affect our schools.  The School Committee will review the recommended FY18 budget in January, the Town Manager will receive and review the School Committee budget in February, and Town Meeting will vote on a final budget in April.  As a team, we will of course do everything we can to optimize available resources and develop a budget that supports the learning and teaching in our schools and that continues to prioritize the achievement and development of all students.

Throughout this process, we will keep you informed with timely information.  I will use our District Website, the Pathways Newsletter and the Pathways Blog as the primary communication tool to disseminate district information.  In the near future, I will also be communicating Superintendent’s Office Hours during which staff and/or community members can come and discuss questions or concerns about our school district.  If you hear or read information from other sources and you have questions or need clarification, please always feel free to contact me, your school principal, or central office administrators.  It is important that the information we communicate is timely and accurate, and we will do everything possible to keep lines of communication open.

I realize that many staff and parents in our district are very disappointed by Tuesday’s outcome, and are concerned that our current district goals and student outcomes will be impacted by the failed override. I also realize, however, that we can persevere in our unfailing commitment to provide the best possible education for our students, regardless of the challenges. I want to thank the community members who have already contacted our schools in the last few days to offer support and gratitude to our staff and administrators.  I know the encouragement is so appreciated. The dedication of our entire staff is amazing, and I am inspired by our staff’s tireless commitment to children that can be witnessed on a daily basis at every school.

If you have any questions, comments, or thoughts, please do not hesitate to contact me.  And most importantly, thank you all for what you do every day for the children of the Reading Public Schools.

John F. Doherty, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

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