May 4, 2021
Dear Shrewsbury Families, Colleagues, & Community Members,
I am thrilled to pass along the news that Shrewsbury voters approved the operational override in today’s election by voting “Yes” by a 61% to 39% margin.
This is a watershed moment in the history of Shrewsbury, as our town government will now have sufficient funding to provide the level and quality of services that our community expects over the next several years.
Thank you to each and every one of you who voted in support. I am deeply grateful to the members of the School Committee (Chair Sandy Fryc, Lynsey Heffernan, Dale Magee, Jason Palitsch, and Jon Wensky) and Board of Selectmen (Chair Beth Casavant, Moe DePalo, Jim Kane, John Lebeaux and John Samia) for coming to an unprecedented agreement regarding multi-year financial planning and successfully making the case to the community for why this was a solution to our longstanding revenue issues. I appreciate that they, along with the Finance Committee, unanimously supported the groundbreaking approach proposed by our Town Manager, Kevin Mizikar, of using a stabilization fund model to provide this financial support and stability for our town’s public education, public safety, and municipal government services. I commend Mr. Mizikar and our Assistant Superintendent for Finance & Operations, Patrick Collins, for their leadership and transparency that helped the community understand our financial situation and to support this solution. I also want to thank the leaders and volunteers of the Community Supporters for 2021, the ballot committee who campaigned for a positive vote and who put innumerable hours into reaching out to convince voters of the need for a “Yes” vote and turning them out on Election Day, including campaign chair Michelle Conlin and campaign manager Jason Palitsch. I greatly appreciate the work that State Representative Hannah Kane did to promote this financial solution for our town as well as her ongoing advocacy for our schools at the state level. I am also grateful for the endorsement of this plan that the respective leaders of the Shrewsbury Education Association and Shrewsbury Paraprofessional Association provided. Please forgive me if I have forgotten anyone - I am so thankful for everyone's support.
Thanks to this vote, our schools will not only have sufficient funds to not have to make any budget cuts for next year, to add the staff necessary to open the new Beal School as planned, and to restore four teaching positions that were cut this year (two each at Sherwood and SHS), but we will also now have a much-improved and stable financial situation for at least the next several years. This will enable us to focus our energies on our mission of improving education for our students and not on managing unpredictable budgets. In contrast, if a majority of voters had said “No,” we would be facing devastating cuts to school personnel and programming. The difference between these scenarios is gargantuan, and I could not be more pleased that our community said “Yes” to supporting our schools and other town departments.
We can all be proud that a significant majority of our community members were willing to pay more in taxes in order to preserve and enhance the quality of public education, public safety, and municipal services in Shrewsbury. I am confident that our school district's collective efforts in the coming years will validate the trust that our community members have placed in us by making this historic investment in our schools – and that the children, families, and residents of our town will benefit greatly as a result.
Thank you, Shrewsbury!
Superintendent of Schools