Serious Issues Drive Need for MERSD Third-party Audit


To the Editor,

Aside from the poor financial choice to use reserves to repeatedly fund operational costs, a school budget that needs to be artificially suppressed year after year is not sustainable. The problem lies in the structure of the budget, not apportionment, but in the allocation of funds and equity of available resources.
MCAS scores are only one measure of a school’s competence but a perfect way to assess the equity between the Manchester Memorial School (MMES) and the Essex Elementary School (EES). The following numbers represent the percentage of students that “meet” or “exceed” State standards last spring:
Science/Tech/Engineering: MMES: 68%; EES: 29%
Math: MMES: 67%; EES: 38%
English Language Arts: MMES: 61%; EES: 50%
The difference in these scores is inexcusable. What’s worse, scores in 2019 already demonstrated a 10-to 20-point differential, making the lack of equity a chronic problem.
The State’s Accountability system analyzes a set of measures (including MCAS scores, growth, absenteeism, etc.) to provide clear information about a school’s performance as compared to other schools in the state.
Let’s see how our elementary schools fared:
MMES: In 2019 scored 92% and steadily increased to 94% in 2023.
EES: In 2019 scored 72% and steadily declined to 55% in 2023.
While MMES performed better than 93% of elementary schools statewide, EES has continually declined.
Take note again, the difference in scores.
What is happening in our school district? Would YOU put more money into a district that so heavily favors one school over the other? And why DID the district’s Finance Director resign? What other discrepancies need to be revealed?
We definitely need an audit.
Antonella Muniz