Cambridge School Committee Adopts Revised FY 2024 Budget Following Parent Input


The Cambridge Public School Committee voted unanimously on Tuesday to adopt a revised fiscal year 2024 budget, while will add additional funding for education paraprofessionals, scaled-up learning time programs, and school improvement budgets at various campuses across the district.

In Tuesday’s special meeting to vote on the $245 million budget, Superintendent Victoria L. Greer said Committee edited the budget to provide an additional $700,000 to continue expanded learning time programs, making up for decreased funding from the federal and state government. The Committee also allocated an additional $60,000 for schools which have student bodies that have higher-than-district-average needs.

“We are very fortunate to have the financial resources and the support from the city,” Greer said. “We also know that our resources and our funds do have limits — they are not unlimited funding.”

The adoption of the budget followed weeks of discussions between the Committee and local parent advocacy groups, including the North Cambridge Courageous Conversations, Cambridge Families of Asian Descent, and Cambridge Families of Color Coalition.


Tina T. Lieu, a CPS parent and part of the leadership team of Cambridge Families of Asian Descent, wrote in a statement that she was “happy” to see that the Greer and the School Committee heard feedback and “made adjustments to the budget in a short time frame.”

“I’m grateful for the school community members that turned out to the forums on short notice and came with the mindset of asking how can we orient our school budget to deliver equitable public education so that every student gets what they need,” she wrote.

Despite the funding increases, budget Co-Chair Rachel B. Weinstein admitted the approved budget still had shortcomings.

“Is this budget perfect? I don't think anyone would say it is,” Weinstein said. “But governing and policymaking almost always require not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

Committee members specifically flagged the implementation of the budget as an area for potential improvement, saying the district still needs to make progress on its commitment to equitable learning and achievement.

Committee member Ayesha M. Wilson highlighted the achievement gap of students of color as a systematic failing of the district.

“How do we respond when many of our colleagues across the country are doing a lot more with a whole lot less?” Wilson asked the group. “What does it mean to really put our resources, put our money where our mouth is when we talk about equitable outcomes?”

In her opening remarks, Weinstein said while the budget is a critical part of the Committee’s work, it is “not sufficient for seeing student outcomes change dramatically”.

“It’s important to remember that while the budget is perhaps the most important policy we adopt in a given year, what matters even more is how it’s implemented.” Weinstein said. “And the implementation is the job of everyone, at all levels of CPS.”

Noting the delay in the budgeting process due to additional meetings with Cambridge residents, Weinstein said she is confident the Committee will implement the suggestions made regarding the budget process — such as providing translations of the budget proposal and setting more time for the public to review them — in future proceedings.

“We are really fortunate to live and work in a community that not only thinks and cares deeply about our young people’s education but also brings an equity lens to their advocacy,” Weinstein said.

After the meeting, Lieu wrote she was “encouraged” by the School Committee’s comments on improving the budget process and community involvement.

“Folks are interested in working with the district to improve the process next year to reduce stress on everyone and come up with a yet more equity-centered school budget,” she wrote.

—Staff writer Sally E. Edwards can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @sallyedwards04.

—Staff writer Ayumi Nagatomi can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ayumi_nagatomi.