The Budget & Finance Subcommittee of the Greenfield School Committee met about a month ago (22 Jan 2024), the main topic being the FY25 budget. I’m just catching up on it now.

Music programs across the district were a big topic of conversation at this meeting, with Subcommittee Chair Martini and Member Deneeve had a lot of questions for Superintendent DeBarge around the district’s music offerings, picking up on the conversation from back in the spring/summer of last year.

The Superintendent’s approach to the music programs/offerings (such as they are) does not seem to have changed much from back then, essentially saying that if the School Committee says the schools should do it and provides funding, she will find a way to make it work. She once more cites the low enrollment levels in music elective at the high school and seems to characterize music at the elementary schools and the middle school as a way to fit contractually obligated teach prep time into the schedule.

There was also some discussion of returning Spanish classes to the middle school. The superintendent said that she is planning to consider that as part of redistricting and the move of fifth and eight grades the year after next. There will be staffing changes required to support those moves; anyone hired now might then be impacted when those changes happen. The subcommittee mostly seemed fine with this approach.

I had been anticipating some discussion of the assistant superintendent role that caused a minor kerfuffle during the Communications from the Superintendent at the 21 Feb City Council meeting but there was nary a mention of it.

More broadly, there were several references and comments in this meeting about the difficulty the district has in filling open positions. According to DeBarge, there are several positions that have been open for more than a year; even if new positions are created, she seems to have concerns about being able to actually fill them. This concern also came up in the subcommittee’s discussion at this meeting regarding expanding the district’s music offerings.