Walnut Street Synagogue Hosts Founders’ Day Celebration Sunday

Edward Medros will be there. Herbie Kupersmith will be there. And so will the other pillars of the Jewish community in Chelsea who have worked hard to keep the historic Walnut Street Synagogue in existence.

This Sunday, Medros, the current president of the shul, and Kupersmith, whose fundraising efforts have been essential through the years, will be joined by more than 200 people at the Walnut Street Synagogue’s Founders’ Day Celebration.

Edward Medros, president of the Walnut Street Synagogue, will welcome more than 200 people to the shul Sunday for a Founders’ Day Celebration.

“We’ve been planning this event since July, 2018,” said Medros in an interview before he was honored by the Chelsea City Council Monday night. “We’re honoring the founders of the synagogue. The theme is ‘honoring the past, building for the future.”

Medros said the planning committee’s goal with the event has been to identify and celebrate the immigrants who started the synagogue and identify any of the descendants of the founders.

“We also want to showcase the strength of the synagogue after 132 years,” Medros related. “We want to thank those people who fled Eastern Europe and the persecution there and came here to start a better life and make a better life for their children.”

He noted that Chelsea was once home to more than 20,000 Jews.

“Chelsea once had 25 synagogues,” he said. “Today there is one orthodox [Walnut Street] and one conservative [Temple Emmanuel] synagogue left in the city.”

Medros said the planning committee consists of Herbie Kupersmith, Richie Zabot, Harold Mindel, Sheila Watnick, Tom Barth, Ellen Rovner, Carmella Cavallaro, Carol Clingan, Elaine Cohen, and Devra Zabot.

A celebration for all

Sunday’s event will begin with a “Todah Reception” at 1:30 p.m. that will recognize the sponsors and key contributors who made the event possible.

There will be hors d’oeuvres and light refreshments from 2 to 3 p.m. during which guests can view the many artifacts and take a tour the synagogue.

At 3 p.m., Medros will deliver the opening remarks for the speaking program. City Manager Tom Ambrosino and Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson will bring the official greetings from city government.

Chelsea native Harold Mindel, a long-time and widely admired member of the congregation, will also address the gathering. Sheldon Young will present a special song for the occasion.

The distinguished guest speakers are Samuel D. Gruber, international art and architecture history, and Norman H. Finklestein, Chelsea Jewish historian, who will provide insights on Jewish life within the city during and after the turn of the century.

Local genealogist Carol Clingan, who conducts research on behalf of the synagogue, will be available to founders’ descendants looking to learn more about their ancestry.

There will be a klezmer band providing musical entertainment and a dessert reception.

Future plans call

for a Jewish museum

The event will also mark the announcement of plans to create the Chelsea Jewish Museum and Cultural Center at the Walnut Street Synagogue. Going forward, the center will feature cultural events and an exhibit of its collection of early Jewish artifacts, religious books, and photographs.

Ed Medros continues

his efforts at the shul

Ed Medros has been involved in the Walnut Street Synagogue since 1976 after a fire destroyed the Elm Street Synagogue.

“My parents [Harold and Sarah Medros] were originally members of the Elm Street Synagogue and after the fire there, we followed the rabbi [Nochum Cywiak] to Walnut Street.”

He was involved in the shul’s restoration project in 1991. Seven years ago Herb Kupersmith asked Medros to become more involved and he assumed the role as president of the shul.

“We have about 100 active congregants and on the High holidays, we’ll get between 50 and 125 people,” said Medros.

“Sunday is going to be a great celebration,” he added. “As Ellen Rovner says, Chelsea has always had a strong immigration history. Chelsea has diversity so you have various groups that have emigrated here and made this city their home.”

Medros concluded by noting that the Walnut Street Synagogue is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“We’re quite proud of that designation,” said Medros. “There’s not many synagogues that can say that. There’s not many synagogues that have an ark built by Sam Katz and a painted ceiling by a gentleman named Mr. Spector. And it seats 1,109 people.”

Earlier this year Ed Medros was selected as an Honorable Menschion by the Jewish Journal. This Sunday, Medros will be in the spotlight again, joined by 200 people at the Founders Day celebration who will show their appreciation with their attendance at the event and their continuing support of the 132-year-old synagogue.

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Council Passes Parking Program Ban for Developers Seeking ZBA Relief

Developers who want to get around the City’s parking requirements are going to have to put their money where their mouths are.

Monday night, the City Council approved an amendment altering the off-street parking requirements in the zoning ordinance. Under the change, brought forward by Council President Damali Vidot and District 1 Councillor Robert Bishop, developers who seek parking relief for their projects will lose the right to have their tenants take part in the City’s on-street parking program.

“If a developer wants to build and does not meet the minimum requirement for parking, we are asking them to enter an agreement with the people they rent to, to not participate in the residential parking program,” said Vidot.

As a lack of parking becomes a bigger and bigger issue in Chelsea, Vidot said developers continue to come forward seeking relief from parking regulations which typically require two parking spots per residential unit. Often, she said, those developers will tout the fact that more people are using public transportation or ride-sharing services and do not own as many cars. But, Vidot said, the numbers show that car registrations are heading up in Chelsea, and it becomes harder every day for residents to find a place to park on the city’s streets.

“It’s important that we try to figure out how to resolve this issue, and we definitely have an issue in our community,” Vidot said.

Bishop said the issue extends beyond developers building multi-unit apartment complexes.

“People are going to the Board of Appeals and they want to convert a two- family house to a three-family house, or a one-family to a two-family,” Bishop said.

Often, he said, those conversion requests come with a request to seek relief from the parking requirements.

“Something has to be done, it’s crazy out there,” said Bishop.

While the change will go into effect on Jan. 1 of next year, Councillor-At-Large Roy Avellaneda took a shot at backdating the ordinance change to Jan. 1 2015. Effectively, developers who were granted parking relief since that date could have seen their tenants no longer eligible for on-street parking stickers.

Several councillors raised objections that the City could be in legal jeopardy if the ordinance change was back-dated. However, Avellaneda maintained that participating in the parking program is not a right, so that taking it away wouldn’t be a legal issue.

City Solicitor Cheryl Watson Fisher was not as comfortable denying that parking relief granted by the ZBA is a right.

“If someone sought relief, then they have relief,” she said, adding that if the Council went forward with Avellaneda’s suggested change, the whole ordinance change would be unenforceable.

Avellaneda withdrew his amendment, and voted for the change as proposed by Vidot and Bishop.

Councillors Joe Perlatonda and Leo Robinson cast the two votes against the ordinance change.

“Who are we to say that someone comes into Chelsea and buys a $500,000 condo or an $800,000 house and we say they can’t park here?” asked Perlatonda. “There are people parking in Chelsea who do not live in Chelsea.”

Perlatonda said there is a parking issue in the city, but has vocally championed a more holistic overhaul of the city’s parking regulations to address the issue.

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Cable Building to Be Named After the Late Duke Bradley

The legacies of Judith Dyer and Robert “Duke” Bradley will live on in Chelsea, thanks to orders introduced by the City Council on Monday night.

Council President Damali Vidot introduced the order approving the dedication of the park at the corner of Spruce and Heard streets as Judith Dyer Park.

Councillor-At-Large Leo Robinson introduced the order requesting that the Community Cable TV building be named after Bradley. Bradley, who recently died, was a lifelong Chelsea resident and best known as the executive director of Chelsea Community Cable Television.

“Earlier this summer, I received a request from the Beautification Committee that the City dedicate the small park at the corner of Heard Street and Spruce Street to Judith Dyer,” stated City Manager Tom Ambrosino. “This small area would be henceforth known as Judith Dyer Park and would be commemorated with a modest plaque or sign. Given Ms. Dyer’s civic efforts over the course of many years, this seems to me a meritorious request.”

The letter from the Beautification Committee noted that Dyer has been an inspiration to the residents of Chelsea for a number of years, involved in almost every community group from the Beautification Committee to GreenRoots, the CET, Conservation Commission, the ZBA, TND’s Board of Directors, and other committees.

“At a time of nationwide distrust of institutions and declining civic engagement, we need more people like Judith to step up and participate in making Chelsea the best it can be,” the letter further stated.

•In other business Monday night, Ambrosino updated the Council on Logan Airport noise-related topics.

Over the summer, with the help of GreenRoots, the City secured a pro bono proposal to do some noise monitoring in Chelsea. An initial public information session about the proposal is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 12 at 6 p.m. at the GreenRoots office.

Ambrosino also stated that there have been discussions with another Georgia firm to conduct additional testing at a cost of $25,000. The City Manager recommended the Council approve using money from the City’s stabilization fund to pay for the additional testing.

District 1 Councillor Robert Bishop said he supports noise testing, but was against funding it from the City’s stabilization fund, which he said should be the last option for funding City programs and requests. The Council agreed to take up the funding request at a future conference committee meeting.

•District 6 Councillor Giovanni Recupero requested Ambrosino look into giving all senior citizen homeowner occupants a 30 percent discount on their water bills.

“It’s a good thing to do to give the seniors who live here a little break to try to keep them in our city,” Recupero said.

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Leonard Florence 11th Annual ALS/MS Walk for Living Oct. 6

When ALS resident Melissa King participates in the 11th annual ALS & MS Walk for Living on Sunday, Oct. 6, she’ll be celebrating a special achievement. As reported in last week’s Chelsea Record, being able to plant a garden seemed impossible to Melissa, 49, after she was diagnosed with ALS in 2014. Melissa cannot speak or walk and has very limited use of her arms/hands. Yet through sheer determination –and a little help from her friends at the Leonard Florence Center for Living (LFCL) –Melissa was able to turn her dream into reality.

This past summer she oversaw the planting and maintenance of three vibrant vegetable, herb and flower community gardens. As Melissa says, “The Center provided me with a strong support system while enabling me to be independent.” For Melissa and all the ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and MS (multiple sclerosis) residents at LFCL, the freedom to live independently is an incredibly precious gift.

The 11th annual ALS & MS Walk for Living will help raise funds for the care of these inspiring individuals such as King.

This year, the Walk for Living will take place at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 6, at 165 Captains Row in Chelsea. Expected to attract more than 1,000 walkers, the two-mile walk has become a popular family-friendly event in the Greater Boston area. Over the past 11 years, the event has raised almost $2 million dollars. Operated by the non-profit Chelsea Jewish Lifecare, the Leonard Florence Center for Living cares for more individuals with ALS than any place else in the world.

“The Walk for Living brings together a community of passionate, caring individuals,” said Barry Berman, CEO of Chelsea Jewish Lifecare. “I have been amazed at the support of our local communities, businesses, families, friends and, of course, the residents themselves. Their zest for living inspires us every single day.”

What’s so unique about the Center is that residents, many of whom are completely immobilized, can control lights, turn on the TV, call for the elevator, open doors and raise window shades, all with help of a computer and sensor that tracks head and eye movements for instruction. In essence, they can control anything with an on and off switch with their eyes, allowing them to move freely through the entire residence. The Leonard Florence Center for Living is the country’s first urban model Green House skilled nursing facility.

This year’s Walk for Living will honor Phyllis and Alan Bolotin.

As long-time residents of the North Shore, they have contributed to organizations for years through their generosity, time, passion and dedication. “Phyllis and I are so proud to be involved with the Leonard Florence Center for Living and the 2019 Walk for Living,” said Alan Bolotin. “The Leonard Florence Center residents continuously inspire us. It is our fervent hope that this event will raise funds and awareness about living with ALS and MS today.”

Beloved radio personality Matt Siegel, host of Matty in the Morning on KISS 108, will once again act as emcee to kick-off the walk. Major corporate sponsors include Lundgren Management, M&T Bank and Patients Like Me.

The Independent Newspaper Group continues to be the media sponsor. Immediately following the walk, there will be a BBQ hosted by Chili’s, face painting, live dance performances, a petting zoo, a photo booth and a raffle. The $20 donation fee to participate includes a Walk for Living tee shirt, BBQ and all activities.

“I am honored to emcee the 11th annual ALS & MS Walk for Living,” said Matt Siegel. “Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to get to know the amazing residents at the Leonard Florence Center. Their incredible courage, strength, humor and love of life are an inspiration to us all.”

Registration begins at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 6, and the Walk begins at 10 a.m. The Walk for Living is one of the few walks that are dog friendly. To start or sponsor a team or to make a much-appreciated donation, please visit www.walkforliving.org or contact Walk Director Maura Graham at mgraham@chelseajewish.org or 617.409.8973.

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School Update

District Updates

•Over the summer science teachers Cristina Caruso and Gabby Strasser ran a program on Climate Change Resilience in Chelsea. Rising fifth graders in the program learned about how climate change impacts the city and focused on the heat island effect that drastically impacts the temperature in urban areas. During the two-week program, students took a trip around Chelsea to observe the impacts of heat on the city, took a trip to The Greenway in Boston to see how green space is being used to in surrounding cites to mitigate heat, read parts of ‘It’s Your World’ by Chelsea Clinton and ‘What is Climate Change’ by Gail Herman, and they developed projects designed to educate others on ways to increase climate change resiliency in Chelsea. Afterwards some of the students presented their projects to their peers and to parents and staff at the Back to School Celebration.

Berkowitz School

•The Berkowitz School had a great opening two weeks. On Friday, it held the first school-wide assembly. Students learned about core values of Respect, Responsibility, Empathy, and Determination. Ms. Malik, Ms. Kelleher, and their students helped teach how parts of the brain do different things. They also led the first school-wide “mindful moment.” Lastly, students learned about the online store where they can design their own Berkowitz School apparel. The store can be found at BerkowitzSpiritWear.com

Hooks School

•The Hooks School had super-motivated 4th Graders who rocked summer reading. Teachers look forward to seeing them continue to flourish this year.

Kelly School

•Our 2nd grade team gives kids a choice of how they want to be greeted each morning. Ms. Gilligan’s students let her know if they’d like to start the day with a hug, high-five, fist-bump, handshake, or a friendly “hello.”

•Students and teachers have quickly dove right into reading: Ms. Madden’s 2nd graders got into “read to self” time with a twist: They each get to whisper-read with a small stuffed animal that’s eager to listen.

•Fourth-grade teachers invited Kelly scholars to “dine” on some new “flavors” of books by hosting a Book Tasting Event the first week of school. Students “tasted” books from a variety of different genres and made a list of titles, series, and genres they’d like to devour more of.

Clark Avenue Middle

•CAMS welcomed families back to school with the annual Potluck dinner. It was great to see familiar faces and welcome new families. Also, Mr. Thomas introduced fifth graders to the many instruments they can learn this year in music.

Wright Middle School

5th Grade artists at WSTA got their hands messy this week in art class with some paste painting fun.

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Helping Residents : Planning Board Supports Changes To Affordable Housing Regulations

The Planning Board is supporting an amendment to the City’s inclusionary housing and zoning ordinance that will make it easier for low-income residents to rent affordable housing units.

The proposed change in the ordinance will also increase the amount of money developers will need to pay the City if they attempt to opt-out of building affordable units in projects of 10 or more units.

The amendment first came before the Planning Board in April, and at Tuesday night’s meeting, the board unanimously supported recommending the changes in the ordinance.

The inclusionary housing ordinance was first introduced by At-Large City Councillor Leo Robinson in 2016, according to Lad Dell, the city planner and land use administrator.

“The reason was that in the Greater Boston area, the cost of housing has gone up astronomically, and Chelsea has not been isolated from that. There was a concern that long-time Chelsea residents would be pushed out.”

But the original ordinance set the eligibility guidelines at 80 percent of the Average Median Income (AMI) to qualify for affordable units.

Since the AMI is based on income for the Greater Boston area, and not just Chelsea, that figure stood at about $89,000 for a family of four. Dell noted that the figure is well above the average Chelsea income of $55,000 for a family of four.

Under the new amendment, the affordable rental units will now be evenly split between 80, 50, and 30 percent AMI. Condominium projects will remain at the 80 percent AMI level.

Developers who build projects of 10 or more units must set aside at least 15 percent of those units as affordable.

“If a developer did not want to provide the 15 percent of affordable units, they had the option of a $200,000 payment in lieu per unit,” said Dell. “That was raised to $400,000 in April.”

Planning Board member Eric Asquith asked what the rationale was for raising the payment in lieu to $400,000.

“The $400,000 price tag kind of startles a lot of people, but that’s what it costs to build an affordable unit in Chelsea,” said Alex Train, assistant director of planning.

However, Train said developers still need City approval to substitute the payments for the creation of affordable units.

Planning Board member Sara Arman questioned why the rate was set at 15 percent and not higher.

“That’s on par with other communities,” said Train. “We want to have a balance between affordable housing and encouraging development.”

Several board members noted that there is very little developable land in Chelsea, with member Mimi Rancatore asking if the number triggering affordable units should be lowered from 10 to eight.

Train said that most of the development in Chelsea is reuse or redevelopment of existing land.

“It’s about that balance,” he said. “One thing that has proven to lower prices is building more houses, and if we set (the affordable housing number) below 10, it may discourage more building.”

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MassDOT Finding Challenges With Advanced Notification on Chelsea Street Bridge

Nothing is more frustrating than being in a hurry and finding oneself second fiddle to the needs of a 10-ton oil tanker as the Chelsea Street Bridge raises to the top in the midst of the day.

Since the Chelsea Street Bridge came into existence, and especially since the new Silver Line SL3 service expanded to Chelsea last year, the Bridge operations have become a major backbreaker for those trying to cross it with vehicles – including residents, MBTA buses and MassPort Employee shuttles. Because maritime traffic has precedent over land traffic, according to the Coast Guard, the Bridge has to go up when a vessel requests it to.

That has resulted in five or more lifts in a day at times, and with no warning.

In a meeting this month at Chelsea City Hall, MassDOT announced the rollout of their new Advanced Notification Program (ANP) and the tweaks that are being made to help it work better.

They also updated the crowd on the long-term efforts being undertaken to try to change the operations of the Bridge so it’s more accommodating to vehicles and buses – particularly during the morning and evening rush hours.

“We know how difficult this Bridge is and how much a problem it can become for residents on both sides of the Chelsea Creek,” said Andrea Donato of MassDOT. “It’s larger and higher than the old bridge…When that Bridge goes up, no vehicles, no pedestrians and no cyclists can cross it. It causes significant and unpredictable delays for anyone that wants to use it.”

On July 8, the ANP went into effect, and it’s been “clunky” Donato said because it has been hard to get information.

The system uses electronic boards and the ‘LoganToChelsea’ Twitter feed (and other social media) to announce the estimated time of a lift on the Bridge and the duration for it to be up.

“This is a critical time in the program so the second goal is to get your ideas and we need to know from you about what we can do to make communication better,” she said. “We need to make it better.”

A second piece of the project is trying to make long-term changes to the operations of the Bridge that are friendlier to those on land, and accommodating to maritime uses as well – which can only operate at high tide and some only during daylight hours.

“The first thing we’ve been working on is to find out how to get the best data now so we can at least communicate better today and improve operations,” she said. “Our longer term goals take time and take data. We’re still working on those, but they’ll take more time…Since February, the momentum has been to implement Advanced Notification…and collect data for an application to the Coast Guard because there was no data previously.”

In addition to ANP, the other two goals include applying to the Coast Guard for the ability to have dual lift heights and to have time of day restrictions. Dual lift heights would allow operators to only have to lift the Bridge halfway for some vessels, thus lowering the wait times on land. Right now, every lift is required to go the full 175-feet up. Time of day restrictions would be for the Bridge to stay closed during rush hour times, or the like.

Matthew Denning of the US Coast Guard said maritime traffic has precedent and the Coast Guard takes that seriously.

“There is a process for changing the regulations, but it takes a long time and can only be changed if it will not increase the risk of maritime safety,” he said. “It can take up to five years in the worst-case scenario, but the Captain of the Port would not approve such a change if it would increase risk.”

One of the things Donato said they are concentrating on at the moment is working with Moran – a shipping agent that controls almost all of the traffic on the Creek – to get reliable data.

“The ANP rollout on July 8 was clunky because it was hard to get data,” she said. “We’re at a point where we need to have this working because it is at a critical time.”

A representative from Moran said they have some trouble finding out when barges might come in, but they do know the approximate time for all other vessels because they handle about 95 percent of the traffic on the Creek. Using Moran, their information is relayed to MassPort, MBTA and MassDOT to distribute on their networks, which include electronic boards, Twitter, T Alerts, and websites.

Still, there can be challenges.

The Moran representative said sometimes there can be fog in the Harbor that holds ships up, even though it’s sunny on land. That can result in a backlog, and the information could be inaccurate. It could also result in about eight to 10 lifts in a short period of time to clear the backlog.

Also, he said it can be difficult to try to control the times of oil tankers, which are restricted to coming and going at high-tide, and during daylight.

“The ships, if full, are required to come to come through the Creek at high tide and during daylight,” he said. “They can only leave during daylight hours.”

The system is still in progress, and MassDOT is looking for feedback on the program through their website, under the ANP program.

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A Standing ‘O’ for Linda Breau : Chelsea Deputy School Superintendent Honored

Linda Breau is retiring from the Chelsea school system and she’s learning just how much her colleagues and the schoolteachers have appreciated her 26 years of service in the city.

Breau, who is deputy superintendent of the Chelsea public schools, received a warm, standing ovation from the entire assemblage of teachers and administrators when she was honored Monday during the program at the annual back-to-school breakfast.

Dr. Mary Bourque, superintendent of Chelsea schools, presented the award to her esteemed colleague. Chelsea education’s dynamic duo has been together since 1998 leading the school system to many successes.

“I have the bittersweet and yet privilege to honor a dedicated lifelong educator – Deputy Supt. Linda Breau, who will be retiring in a mere 35 days,” Bourque said.

“Linda is a lifelong educator who served in the Chelsea schools since 1993 – 26 years,” noted Bourque. “She began her career as a paraprofessional at the ELC, went on to serve our students as ESL teacher, Assistant Principal, and Principal of the Clark Avenue Middle School.

“She moved to Central Office in 2011 as Assistant Superintendent and was then promoted to Deputy Superintendent in 2016. We have been side by side learning, serving, having successes and at times making mistakes – but always learning, always looking to be better.”

Bourque continued her praise of the beloved administrator, stating, “We are a better school district today because of Linda’s quiet strength, relentless work ethic; her love of our students and Chelsea families.

“Personally I am a better leader and better superintendent today because she has always been by my side. Linda has changed lives and touched so many,” said Bourque. “So before she leaves at the end of September for a well-deserved retirement, I want to publicly thank her for her service and for friendship to us all and to me.”

As Breau left her seat and approached the podium, the crowd stood up and acknowledged her accomplishments with hearty applause. Making the moment even more significant for Linda Breau was the fact that her husband, Robert “Bobby” Breau, a Chelsea High School alumnus and one of the city’s greatest athletes, was there to witness it all from a seat in the VIP section.

Breau humbly accepted the award, thoughutfully acknowledging all employees in the school system in her remarks.

“I couldn’t think of a better way to spend the last 26 years than working in this wonderful district,” she said. “I have met and befriended so any wonderful and dedicated people, from paraprofessionals to teachers/support staff to administrators to custodial crew to kitchen staff to security.

“It takes a village and you are that village. It has been an honor and a privilege to have worked with all of you.

“I’m proud of who Chelsea Public Schools has become today. I’m so proud that we welcome and educate. We open our doors and provide opportunity to our kids. One thing I ask as I leave the district: keep on welcoming and educating! Our kids need all of you.”

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School Department Able to Replace Some Budget Cuts With State Budget

The School Department will be able to replace a number of positions and items cut from the original 2019-2020 budget due to an influx of state monies from the final State Budget.

Last Thursday night, the School Committee approved an additional $1.3 million in state Chapter 70 appropriations.

That money will be used to add one attendance officer and a half-time special education clerk in the special education department, increase salary contingencies and health insurance funds across the district, add one social communications teacher and two paraprofessionals and increase funding for substitutes at the Early Learning Center and the elementary schools, add a special education inclusion teachers at the Clarke and Browne middle schools, and correct funding for athletic coaches and increase funding for substitutes at the high school, among other items.

The City Council will now have to approve the additional funding.

“Each year, the Governor’s proposed budget numbers are used by CPS as the foundation for the upcoming year’s budget,” stated Supt. Mary Bourque.

When the state budget is finally adopted after deliberations by the House and Senate and considered by the governor, the budget allocations by school district typically change.

The $1.3 million is separate and apart from any changes to the “pothole” funding which could be finalized by the state in the next several weeks, according to Bourque.

Last year, the Chelsea schools received just under $300,000 in the pothole funding.

“I think it will be something in the same range this year,” said Bourque.

As the schools await the additional funding, Bourque said it’s important for parents and teachers to continue to advocate for a change in the way the state determines the foundational school budget for districts such as Chelsea. Bourque noted that Chelsea’s special education program and benefits are underfunded by approximately $17 million.

“The state legislature is working on a bill to fix the foundation budget,” said Bourque. “We want to make sure it is something we can live with for the next 25 years. We need the City Council to continue to advocate alongside us.”

•In other School Committee business, Bourque updated the board on the superintendent transition plan.

Superintendent-elect Almi Abeyta will be constantly shadowing Bourque through Dec. 1. On Dec. 1, Bourque will take a step back and Abeyta will begin making school district decisions.

Bourque’s last day is Dec. 31, and Jan. 1, 2020 will be Abeyta’s first official day as superintendent.

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