THE MALDEN ADVOCATE–Friday, March 13, 2020 Page 3 Malden School Committee approves general plan for Student Opportunity Act spending By Steve Freker S maller class sizes and more resources to address students’ social, emotional and physical health top the list of stakeholders’ responses solicited by the Malden Public Schools administration, which has been seeking to identify the district’s most pressing needs. Malden Superintendent John Oteri relayed this information in a presentation at the Malden School Committee on March 2. At that meeting, he detailed how he and his staff compiled a plan that must be submitted by April 1 to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) as a means of providing an overview of how the Malden schools intend on using funds being provided under the new, recently passed Student Opportunity Act (SOA). The details of the plan were briefl y discussed at the March 2 meeting. At a follow-up meeting, held Tuesday night at the Malden Senior Center, the School Committee voted unanimously to approve the plan drawn up by the school administration. “We feel very confi dent that all of the top four areas that were cited most frequently by our stakeholders as areas for improvement seem to be in line with what our central staff had identifi ed,” Supt. Oteri said Tuesday night, reiterating that the methods used to solicit responses were by hosting a town hall meeting, an online survey and general comments received in the central offi ce. “I’d like to thank the superintendent and his staff for the work they have put into this plan,” Ward 5 School Committee Member Adam Weldai said. “It was really well done and well laid out. It will enable the School Committee to take some concrete steps in planning spending throughout the budget process.” Mayor Gary Christenson, who serves as School Committee chairman, said, “the [plan] will be evolving as time goes on, when there is more discussion on the details.” As part of the SOA process as outlined in the bill – signed into eff ect by Gov. Charlie Baker – each school district receiving additional funding for the FY21 fiscal year, which begins July 1, must submit a general plan on how it intends to use those funds. State Senator Jason Lewis (D-Malden, Winchester) was one of the lead sponsors of the SOA bill. He is also chair of the legislature’s Joint Committee on Education. Malden is receiving approximately $2.1 million in additional school funding in Year One of the seven-year SOA funding cycle. According to state offi cials and other reports, the Malden Public Schools are expected to receive from $23-25 million over that seven-year period. Class size reduction, hiring more teachers top list For this year’s plan, Supt. Oteri said, Malden has identifi ed class size reduction; increasing funding for social, emotional and physical health; more resources for professional development to improve teachers’ training; and more funding and resources for college and career readiness programs. “A focus on the classroom is central to our mission,” Supt. Oteri stated in the report under the heading “Class Size Reduction through Additional Hires.” “As we work through the budget season, we will collaborate with the Parent Information Center (PIC) and principals to identify areas where class size exceeds recommended guidelines and will use SOA funds to add teachers to schools and classrooms most aff ected by large class size.” At the March 2 School Committee meeting, Supt. Oteri said that the SOA funding would alAUTOTECH 1989 SINCE Is your vehicle ready for the Spring Season?!! AC SPECIAL Recharge your vehicle's AC for the warm weather! Includes up to 1 LB. of Refrigerant* (*Most Vehicles/Some Restrictions May Apply) Only $69.95 DRIVE IT - PUSH IT - TOW IT! CASH FOR YOUR CAR, TRUCK OR SUV! 2008 CADILLAC DTS Platinum Package, Loaded, Excellent Condition, Warranty, Only 83K Miles! LUXURY PRICED RIGHT! $7,995 Easy Financing Available! Loaded with Leather Interior, Moon Roof, Only 106K Miles, Warranty! PRICED TO SELL! $4,995 781-321-8841 1236 EasternAve • Malden EddiesAutotech.com We Pay Cash For Your Vehicle! 2011 MERCURY MILAN PREMIER low hiring additional teachers GENERAL PLAN | SEE PAGE 6

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