Mark has represented Ward 5 on the Somerville School Committee since 2006. He successfully advocated for:
- Parent/guardian liaisons in each school.
- Foreign language instruction beginning in 7th grade.
- A new salary structure to hire better teachers.
- Expanded music, art, sports, and after-school programs — without fees.
- More parent involvement in hiring principals and administrators
- A district-wide Volunteer Coordinator and a staff person in each school to coordinate volunteers
- An open and transparent school budget process with many opportunities for public comment. (A timeline for the FY 2014 school budget is below on this page.)
Mark has provided strong leadership on the School Committee:
- Urged the School Committee to adopt ambitious, rigorous two-year goals, which it did in April 2012. (You can find the goals for 2012-2014 below on this page.)
- Chaired the School Committee in 2010, when the School Department was one of the few parts of city government to get a budget increase. Mayor Joe Curtatone remarked several times, in public, “…this is the strongest School Committee I have served on.”
As Chair, led extensive public meetings and the School Committee’s deliberations that resulted in the vote to restructure and unify the Healey School under the progressive philosophy and practices of the Choice Program. (2010)
- As Vice-Chair of the School Committee, led the 2009 budget deliberations, working closely with Mayor Curtatone and the Board of Aldermen to avert fiscal catastrophe following the 2008 global recession.
- As Personnel Subcommittee chair, conducted an open and transparent hiring process for two key leadership positions, the Director of Special Education and Assistant Superintendent of Schools for Curriculum. (2007).
The Somerville Public Schools budget process for FY 2014
(Updated April 28, 2013)
The School Committee began developing the budget for the 2013-2014 school year (Fiscal Year 2014) at its March 5 meeting for Finance and Facilities. There have been two public meetings since then at which the School Committee discussed the FY 2014 budget.
We are now working on the fourth draft of the FY 2014 budget developed by the Superintendent of Schools. There has been extensive input from the School Committee and many changes made by the Superintendent as a result. The current working draft calls for a seven percent increase in spending next year, which, if approved by the Board of Aldermen, would continue improvement in our schools. The current proposed Superintendent’s budget would support:
- two more pre-K SMILE classrooms, free for all students, for a total of 11 classrooms
- seven new early literacy playgroups for pre-school families
- expansion of Spanish language instruction to the 6th grade
- a half-time Coordinator for the Unidos two-way Spanish-English program
- salary increases for teachers and other staff
- an increase in the Special Education budget
- additional funds for the successful Somerville Family Learning Collaborative
- an additional elementary music teacher for strings and percussion.
The next budget meeting will be on Tuesday, May 7. (All School Committee budget meetings are held at the SPS Central Office, 42 Cross Street in East Somerville and begin at 7:00 PM.)
A Public Hearing will be held on Wednesday, May 29th in the Somerville High School Library. Before members of the public speak, the Superintendent will present his recommended budget, put together with extensive input from the School Committee.
The School Committee will then meet on May 30th and June 5th and is likely to vote on June 5th for a FY 2014 school budget. The School Committee makes final decisions on the budget and may vote changes to the Superintendent’s recommended budget at these meetings.
The School Committee’s recommended budget will then be considered for approval by the Board of Aldermen later in June.
In May, well before the Public Hearing, budget materials and related documents will be posted on the Somerville Public Schools Finance and Facilities webpage.
The Somerville Public Schools’ budget for the current school year (FY 2013) was approved by the Board of Aldermen in June 2012. The budget totals $52,545,257, an increase of 6.2% over FY 2012.
School Committee Goals 2012-2014
In April 2012, as part of our commitment to prepare every student for lifelong success, the Somerville School Committee adopts the following goals for 2012-2014:
Goal 1: Improve student achievement by meeting the following annual targets:
- Achieve a minimum District-wide student growth percentage (SGP) average of 55 and implement intervention measures for any student who does not meet this standard.
- Reduce the achievement gap by 10%.
- Increase Math MCAS scores by 10%.
- Increase the number of students ranking Proficient and Advanced on MCAS by 10% in all subgroups.
- Improve the graduation rate by 10%.
Goal 2: Promote innovations designed to improve student performance.
- Provide support and guidance to schools interested in exploring alternative innovation plans or conversion to an Innovation School.
- Ensure that the Healey Unification Plan is fulfilled as developed by the Healey School Council and the School Committee.
Goal 3: Develop stronger home-school connections.
- Improve engagement with parents/guardians of English Language Learners and with immigrant communities.
- Improve engagement with parents/guardians who are not yet involved in the schools.
Goal 4: Increase engagement with the community to improve student learning.
- Leverage city resources to support targeted student improvement goals and initiatives.
- Strengthen community partnerships.
- Develop the capacity to engage the talents and skills of parents/guardians and community members.
The Superintendant and his administration, working together with the School Committee, will add strategies, programs, and initiatives under each of these goals in order to accomplish them. To monitor progress on these goals, you can go to the Somerville Public Schools website,