Superintendent's Update - April 28, 2022

Dear Shrewsbury Families, Colleagues, & Community Members,

Our schools are back in full swing after April Vacation, as we hit the home stretch of the school year.  Our students are busy with academics, including taking state MCAS tests and with AP exams coming up soon at the high school level, while they are also engaged with all kinds of activities including clubs, concerts, athletics, and academic teams (including the SHS Quiz Team, who competed well in this year’s edition of WGBH’s High School Quiz Show  – click here for the qualifying round and here for the quarterfinals!).

Please note the following:

• Financial updates: Our students and community continue to benefit from the investments Shrewsbury citizens decided to make in our schools through last year’s operational override and the capital funding of the new Beal School.  

 – The Beal building project is moving into its final closeout phase, and I am very pleased to report that the final cost will be about $80 million, which is approximately $11.6 million under the original budget, thanks to a market that was favorable for bidding and excellent execution of its design and construction by our architects (Lamoureux Pagano Associates | Architects), project manager (PMA Consultants) and construction manager (Fontaine Bros.).  

– The School Committee recently unanimously recommended next year’s budget plan for approval at the Annual Town Meeting, which will be held on Saturday, May 21. You can find the budget packet being sent to Town Meeting members on our website here, where you can find a wealth of information about our school district’s finances.  This budget will provide stability with no reductions to current levels of programming and personnel, while also allowing for key investments to address important needs, particularly with regard to students’ mental and behavioral health.  – A few key items that can be found in the budget document: 

  • Our per pupil expenditure for the last full fiscal year was $15,488 per student, which ranks in the bottom 7% of all public school districts in Massachusetts
  • The recommendation for next year’s town-appropriated budget is for a 4.75% increase to $79.3 million, a $3.6 million increase over the current year, which is in line with the override agreement between the School Committee and Board of Selectmen
  • Next year’s budget plan will include the restoration of positions cut in previous years, including a preschool teacher and aide and three special subject teachers at the middle school level
  • There are eight positions funded across the middle and high school levels to address students' mental and behavioral health
  • Class sizes remain at desirable levels
  • The student activity fee for co-curricular activities such as clubs and academic teams is eliminated to remove barriers to student engagement 


• Superintendent’s evaluation: Thanks to all of you who provided feedback on my performance through the recent surveys.  You can find the survey responses from parents and community members here and from staff here, and you can read the School Committee’s formal evaluation of my work here.  As I stated in response to my evaluation, I am very fortunate to be part of this school district and community, where the skillful work and commitment of our outstanding staff, the support of our families and community, and the respect and effort demonstrated by our students make it a pleasure to serve as your superintendent.

• High Five Friday tomorrow morning: Tomorrow morning at arrival, elementary and middle school students will be greeted by some of our community partners from the Shrewsbury Police as part of “Police and Kids High Five Friday 2022,” sponsored by Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association.  I’m pleased and proud that some of the officers who will be high fiving and fist bumping students tomorrow morning are Shrewsbury Public Schools alumni themselves!

• In case you missed it – Shrewsbury Education Foundation award and grant recipients: In my last update just prior to the April break, I listed this year’s recipients of the John P. Collins Awards for Excellence and the SEF grant awards.  Please click here to see the staff who were honored for their outstanding work.

Thank you for your continued support, and as Ramadan comes to an end early next week I wish a happy Eid al-Fitr to all of our students, families, and staff who will be celebrating!




Joe Sawyer

Superintendent of Schools


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