The state is threatening to take control of the Randolph
schools because of serious and longstanding financial and educational
problems. The issue that is now coming to a head has been
fomenting for years, particularly since 2001. As the town awaits a
decision by the end of February, here's a collection of some of the
stories the Patriot Ledger has done about the crisis as it unfolds.
Benefit costs could blunt impact of Randolph overrides
Apr. 14: Town officials are working to figure out how to cover the cost of benefits for more than 60 new employees who are to be hired with the $6.1 million from Proposition 2½ overrides approved in the town election. Finance committee Chairman Arthur Goldstein said those costs were not figured into the override requests.
School official: Hard work is just beginning
Apr. 4: The schools have already started work on hiring the 59 new employees, most of them teachers and counselors, that will be added under the Proposition 2½ override approved on Tuesday. The new staff will be used to restore school programs and expand course offerings.
All three overrides pass
Apr. 2: Voters in Tuesday’s town election approved three Proposition 2½ overrides for the schools, police and fire departments totaling $6.1 million. The decision will increase residential property taxes by about 16 percent.
Randolph students fear for schools’ future
Mar. 28: A group of 18 Randolph High School students met Thursday night "because we love this school and we want a change."
Officials plead case for override
Mar. 14: School, police and fire officials urged voters to approve all three of the Proposition 2½ override questions of the April 1 town election ballot. They say the money is needed meet rising needs and budgets that don’t keep pace.
All school board hopefuls back override proposals
Mar. 13: All three candidates for the one-year school committee seat in the April 1 town election support the three override proposals, including one that would boost the school budget by $5.48 million.
All six hopefuls support $6.1M overrides
Mar. 12: All six candidates for two seats on the Randolph Board of Selectmen support all three of the Proposition 2½ overrides proposed on the April 1 town election ballot.
Chief: Randolph needs to focus on its problems
Mar. 11: Randolph Police Chief Paul Porter says the town should focus on its problems, not the media coverage of them.
Seeking solutions: Trying to turn it around
Dec. 18: Elected officials, activists and voters agree that a change in
the form of government is the first step out of Randolph’s tangle of
Much diversity, no identity
As Randolph’s immigrant population grows, townies say they still “co-exist” with the newcomers
Is Randolph broken? Does anybody care?
15: A simmering stew of political, social and financial problems
have come to a boil in recent months. The result: A community in
designates Randolph schools 'underperforming'
Nov. 28: The state Board of Education voted Tuesday to designate
the Randolph school system “underperforming.” The action was taken
after the state Office of Educational Quality and Accountability found
“serious deficiencies in the performance” of the school district during
a multi-year audit period.
REAL TEAM WORK:
Soccer players raise money for team after cuts
Nov. 16: When cuts in the
school budget forced the elimination of all but varsity sports
teams in the athletic program, a group of student-athletes set out to
raise money for the junior varsity soccer and basketball programs.
School's accreditation at risk unless town
provides adequate budget
Nov. 13: The New England Association of Schools and Colleges
makes 55 recommendations for improving the high school, and nearly all
of them involve spending money. Without significant progress, the
school stands to lose its accreditation.
visit may help prompt look at education funding
Oct. 31: The state board of education reviews the degradation of
Randolph's school system, hearing how education in the town was hurt by
budget cuts and loss of teaching jobs.
Education Reform Act to be graded; State to
use Randolph schools as measure; town to host meeting
Randolph approves plan for school improvements
Oct. 26: State officials intend to study whether Randolph schools
are keeping up with the Education Reform Act. The chairman of the state
board of education sat down to discuss its plans with The Patriot
Ledger editorial board.
Oct. 25: The Randolph School Committee approved a plan to improve
the school system over the next five years.
Randolph High gets expected probation; Review
says town hasn't provided consistent support
|Students in front of Randolph High School speak about
the school system. GARY HIGGINS/The Patriot Ledger
Oct. 24: The accreditation of Randolph High School is at risk
after the New England Association of Schools and Colleges places the
school on probation.
Five-year school-improvement strategy adopted;
plan took a year and 250 people to develop
Oct. 23: The plan to improve the schools intends to raise student
achievement, inccrease general involvement and get the community to
invest in the system and the schools.
School enrollment takes sharp drop
Oct. 20: Enrollment in Randolph’s schools is down nearly 8
percent from last year, the sharpest drop in a six-year trend. And that
could hit the cash-strapped school system where it can least afford it:
in the pocketbook.
Schools seek 17% budget increase; Superintendent cites rising special education costs
Oct. 5: The Randolph school superintendent calls for a large
budget increase, which he says does not even approach what is needed to
meet the minimum needs of the community's students.
No more buses
in Randolph, but no parents complain
Cutting buses saves
$452,000 as schools face $3 million in extra costs
Sept. 7: The elimination of busing inconveniences students
and parents, but the school committee doesn't hear any outrage.
Schools stung by cuts
Aug. 30: Despite the first budget increase in three years,
when classes begin Tuesday students will notice larger classes, no
school buses, fewer sports teams at the high school.
Aug. 25: As part of the new school budget, bus service was
eliminated to save about $452,000. Randolph is the only town in the
area, and may be one of the few in the state, not to offer any school
Schools' minority-hiring record is hit
July 2, 2007: Minorities make up nearly 75 percent of students in the
town's school system, but local civil rights activist David Harris says
only 12 percent of the school system’s 531 employees come from minority
avoided vote on override
June 26: Only 19 percent of school parents went to the polls for
the election in March that would have provided the town’s struggling
school system with more than $3 million. Now Randolph schools are
suffering budget cuts.
Devine Center closes
June 16: Randolph's Devine Early Learning Center is being closed
because of budget cuts. The Devine's kindergarden and preschool classes
will be moved to the town's four elementary schools.
Schools to lose
300 years of experience
June 13, 2007: Eleven experienced teachers are retiring from Randolph
Schools, and there is no money in the budget to replace them.
Two sports, all
June 11: Cuts in the athletic program will mean two fewer sports
and only varsity teams next year. The already dwindling budget was
slashed by half.
find funds for clubs, sports
|Students in front of Randolph High School speak about
the school system. GARY HIGGINS/The Patriot Ledger
May 29: Under the school budget approved by town meeting last
week, funding for sports and extracurricular programs was cut in half.
The school system still must come up with an additional $120,000 to
maintain the remaining programs.
don't take sting out of cuts
May 23: Randolph has adopted a $68.36 million budget for 2007-08.
While the budget is balanced, school officials say they need an
additional $3.2 million to maintain current programs.
funds but 40 jobs still cut
May 4: Despite increases in student fees and lunch and the
cutting of sports teams, Randolph schools must cut more than 40 jobs,
about half of them teachers. The Devine Early Learning Center will
close, and school bus service will be all but eliminated.
Boards urge hike
in school funding
April 19: Both the selectmen and finance committee will recommend
increasing Randolph's school budget for the first time in three years,
but adding up to $500K will stand mean budget cuts.
School to close
Randolph hacks budget
April 13: Major cuts have been approved by the school committee,
including closing the Devine Early Learning Center, eliminating school
bus service, and cutting at least 50 employees - including 28 teachers.
sports on the chopping block
April 6: With no tax override, Randolph school officials are
poised to lower the axe on their budget, closing one building and
making the town the first in the state to drop athletics.
School redistricting plan aimed at
ending bus transportation
March 31: About half of Randolph's elementary school students
will change schools in the fall and school bus service for grades one
through 12 will nearly disappear.
has educators scrambling
March 30: School officials in Randolph face the task of
cutting $3.6 million from its proposed budget, following the defeat of
a $4.16 million Proposition 2½ override in Tuesday's town
High school students lobby elders to
vote for override
March 22: A group of Randolph High School students too young to
vote met with residents of the Simon Fireman Community to seek their
support of the $4.16 million Proposition 2½ override in
Tuesday's town election.
Painful cuts: Teachers, students go
March 21: Services in Randolph schools have been slashed due to
budget cuts, dropping student enrollment by 16 percent in the past five
years as students and teachers alike move to private schools and other
districts. The district needs a budget override in Tuesday's election,
or it will face more cuts.
Randolph to get high school report in
March 17: Randolph High School's will know in September the
status of its accreditation, and school officials say that recent
budget cuts will be reflected in a likely downgrade.
Want to fix
schools? Tax hike needed, candidates both agree
March 15: Both candidates for town selectman seat support the
property tax override proposed to help pay for Randolph schools.
Without it, the district will face massive reductions.
Group of area educators to evaluate
how high school measures up
March 8: A team of educators will evaluate the programs offered
by Randolph High School in order to decide whether the school maintains
its accreditation. The expectation is that the school will be placed on
warning or probation.
Randolph not yet
giving up on all-day kindergarten
February 16, 2007: School officials are looking at a combination of
state grants and tuitions to start a full-day kindergarten program in
the fall. They will hear next month whether they will receive the state
Schools to seek
smaller budget hike
February 2: The Randolph School Committee has lowered its budget
request in hopes that it will pick up support by dropping the price
tag. If the request is not voted into effect, the school system faces
losing 10% of its work-force.
expense account running dry
January 19: The Randolph school system has only enough money in
its budget to cover payroll, heat, lighting and transportation.
Administrators are considering a budget override proposal in the next
election to help cover costs.
Schools seek 18%
January 11: School officials in Randolph want to raise taxes by
an average of $460 per homeowner to fund the struggling school system.
School budget request up 18.6%
January 10: The Randolph school committee has approved a budget
increase of $5.44 million, with goals including starting a full-day
kindergarten program and staffing the elementary school libraries.
Schools seek 17%
budget increase; Superintendent cites rising special education costs,
says even 17% inadequate
January 5: Randolph Superintendent of Schools Richard Silverman
is recommending a 17% budget increase, which will still leave the
district short on money. The funding shortage has resulted in steadily
declining student performance and enrollment, and the school faces
possible state takeover.
Board may have to close school
December 8, 2006: A special committee is being formed to look at
proposals to redistrict Randolph's elementary schools, which could
include closing one of them.
Randolph eyes changes in school
December 6, 2006: School officials are looking at plans to redraw the
boundaries of the town's elementary school districts to minimize
busing. They are also considering closing one building.
Schools hard hit by $2M special ed
December 5, 2007: There are too many students and expenses for
Randolph's current school budget to handle. Officials say that even if
costs are cut, they will need more money.
status likely to decline
December 1, 2006: The accreditation of Randolph High School will likely
be downgraded once a review is completed next fall due to significant
State OKs plan to
spur progress at middle school
November 29, 2006: The state Board of Education has approved plans for
getting Randolph Community Middle School off a list of underperforming
schools. The school has failed for five straight years to meet the
progress goals set out by MCAS testing.
School leaders set budget priorities
November 17, 2006: Reducing class sizes and restoring program cuts will
be a priority as the Randolph school system develops its budget for the
2007-8 school year. The school system desperately needs more money.
by school budget cuts
November 13, 2006: Randolph's school system is in total crisis, with
huge budget cuts resulting in loss of teachers, courses, and
activities. Parents are finally getting angry.
officials say schools in trouble
November 2, 2006: Years of budget cuts have left Randolph's school
system in danger of state takeover.
3 towns on U.S.
"watch list" after testing
October 21, 2006: A majority of at-risk students did not meet MCAS
improvement targets, and their performance fell so short in Randolph,
Stoughton and Weymouth public schools that the districts have landed on
a federal "watch list".
More bad news for
Randolph middle school
October 20, 2006: Test results released today show that despite
officials' optimism, Randolph Community Middle School has failed for
the fifth straight year to make adequate progress in math.
leads to special ed growth
October 9, 2006: The elimination of student support programs due to
budget cuts has pushed 21.5 percent of Randolph students into
special-education programs, well above the state average of 15 percent.
Ex-teachers' health insurance targeted
September 27, 2006: Randolph officials are considering reducing retired
teachers' health insurance, which currently costs the town $2.1 million
a year, in order to save money.
Out of balance:
Class sizes to be examined
September 6, 2006: Randolph school officials will be looking at ways to
balance out class sizes in the system's four elementary schools, where
one first-grade class has 36 students.
New blood enters
as schools look to make the grade
August 28, 2006: The Randolph school system is looking to improve its
programs by bringing in new teachers and adding an extra year of math
meeting on schools
August 23, 2006: Randolph selectmen will be sitting down the the school
committee to discuss ways of restoring confidence in local schools,
which has been shaken by low MCAS scores, budget cuts, discipline
problems and the elimination of school programs.
High school day
care rates going up
August 16, 2006: Funding for the child care center at Randolph High
School has been eliminated along with funding for other health
services, leaving teachers upset at the prospect of its closing.
Officials are considering raising the rates to keep it open.
Schools mull gym class requirements
July 18, 2006: A new welness policy being considered by the school
committee would require physical education classes for all Randolph
students, but would require more money.
School office move halted
July 14, 2007: Citing rising costs, the school committee last night
halted a controversial plan to move most administrative offices into
the Tower Hill School building, though the work has already begun.
Town rushing to find enough to pay the bills
June 28, 2006: Randolph officials aren't sure there will be enough
money to cover some of the budget shortfalls left by the defeat of a
Proposition 2 1/2 override.
26 teachers, 9 others to lose jobs in Randolph
June 16, 2006: After voters rejected a Proposition 2 1/2 property tax
increase, the Randolph school committee approved $1.75 million package
of spending cuts.
Schools outline how they plan to spend any override money
June 2, 2006: If the Proposition 2 1/2 override is passed in Randolph,
school officials would use the money to start a full-day kindergarten,
restore staff in the elementary school libraries, and continue the
recently revived in-school suspension program, among other things.
Budget cuts blamed for enrollment
May 22, 2006: A study by a group of school administrators has found
that the biggest reasons parents are pulling their children out of the
Randolph school system are safety, academic reputation and low MCAS
scores. Pointing to budget cuts as the cause, they are optimistic that
the drop in enrollment can be reversed.
32 in schools will get layoff warnings
May 19, 2006: School officials will notify 32 teachers and staff
members today that they may not have jobs to return to in Septmeber, in
case the Proposition 2 1/2 override is rejected at the June 13 special
election. The override would give the schools an additional $2 million
Pupils make progress in English, but other topics are lagging
February 14, 2006: Although gains have been made by students in
Randolph's English Language Learners program, other subjects are
Committee: Security's OK, but money could be put
to better use
February 10, 2006: Randolph school department is seeking to fill two
security assistant jobs at $24 an hour, a rate higher than some
Randolph police officers receive.
Average cost of full override $450 a year
January 18, 2006: Randolph schools are seeking an override to cover the
full $5.5 million increase sought in the Randolph school budget.
Randolph school chief gets $575K buyout
May 15, 2004: School Superintendent Arthur Melia will get $575K in
return for resigning at the end of the summer. The deal gets Melia out
the door two years before his contract ends, allowing the school board
to hire someone else.
School fees squeezing parents
February 28, 2004: Randolph schools, hurting from slashed budgets,
are charging students fees for activities that were once free. The
result is a drop in participation and a rising tide of anger.
Randolph High keeps its accreditation
November 8, 2003: Randolph High School has maintained its
accreditation, despite fears they would lose it. Superintendent Arthur
Melia says however that this does remain a risk if the system faces
additional budget cuts.
Randolph teacher-parents worry about future of
October 17, 2003: Schools facing budget cuts worry that losing programs
means losing students to private schools or other districts.
Group leader says high school cuts too much
September 22, 2003: A leader of Randolph's parent-teacher-student group
says the high school received a larger share of recent $2 million
budget cuts than other grades. Superintendent Arthur Melia denies this,
saying the cuts are spread out equally.
Melia says he expects ‘tough year’ at schools
August 28, 2003: Budget and staff cuts will mean larger classes, fewer
courses and a return of fees for high school sports and extracurricular
programs this coming school year.
Schools to charge fees for sports, clubs
June 27, 2003: A $2.2 million budget shortfall is forcing Randolph
schools to charge fees for sports and clubs, as well as cut 20-22
Selectmen to push for school cuts
April 9, 2003: Randolph selectemen will press for cuts of $225,000 in
the school budget tomorrow, in an attempt to match cuts by all other