Mayor Doesn't Want More ELL Staff
Mayor Vigeant states "... If we have it they will come."
With school officials aiming to add five English Language Learner positions across the district in the coming school year, Mayor Arthur Vigeant spoke against the expansion saying it would continue to grow as people move into the district for the services.
“I can't continue to attract people to the program, because if we have it they will come,” said the mayor, who chairs the School Committee, during a budget meeting Tuesday night. "I can’t continue to absorb what we are absorbing now."
The mayor said the students that are in the district now need to be served, but that by expanding the services it will continue to draw people into the district, requiring the additional expansion of the program in coming years.
“You are going to give me the same request next year," said Mayor Vigeant. "I'm not saying we shouldn't have good services."
The addition of five positions to the ELL program was proposed in Interim Superindent Steven Dlott's FY '14 budget. These positions would help bolster a population that is increasing and needs assistance especially in the lower grades, he said during his budget presentation. He categorized them as very important during a second budget discussion Tuesday.
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The mayor said he has been convinced of the benefit of putting resources into early education for these students. However, he said, he still has concerns about expanding a program to have to expand it even more in coming years.
“I’m looking to take care of the 39,000 people we have and the 21 square miles we have," said Mayor Vigeant who stated that he does not have the answer to the issue.
Other committee members voiced their disagreement with the mayor during the meeting.
"People aren’t moving to Marlborough for our ELL services,” said Committee Member Michelle Bodin-Hettinger.
Committee Member Jennifer Hardy warned that not providing additional services to ELL students could result in students leaving the district.
The budget discussion is set to continue in two weeks.