NPS’ Budget Crisis, Explained

There’s so much chatter about the budget challenges facing the district and we recognize that it’s difficult to make sense of it all. 

It’s important to understand that there are two separate issues at play. They are: 

(1) a $4M shortfall for this (current) fiscal year, and 

(2) the Mayor’s proposed FY’23 budget which underfunds the district. 

To the best of our ability, we’ve explained these two separate issues here. We strongly encourage all parents to familiarize themselves with this critical and timely discussion.

More Background | Suggested Action Steps

Who makes the budget anyway? How does that work? Click here for a brief overview of the budget process, as prepared by the PTO Council.

What can you do? A future override could provide much-needed funding in the long-term, but will not come in time to prevent the cuts to next year’s budget. More immediately, you can:

Contact Mayor Fuller

Mayor Fuller needs to hear from her Newton voters who insist our schools be fully funded this year and following years.

  • Email Mayor Fuller If you are having trouble getting started, here is a template letter and some ideas to get you started.
  • Call Mayor Fuller: (617) 796-1000
  • Visit: Mayor Fuller has no upcoming Office Hours listed. Call or email Sam Nighman to request office hours or schedule an appointment.

Contact the School Committee

  • Speak at Public Comment at the April 4 School Committee Meeting at 6pm. Sign up here!– Remember, the School Committee does not set the budget, but you should tell them and everyone listening about your concerns.

New & Upcoming

Green Team: Earth Month Event & “Going Green Tips & Tricks” Series

April is Earth Month! To celebrate, MasonRice Green Team is organizing a Newton Center Playground Cleanup and Activity on Tuesday, 4/26 3-4pm. Click here for more details and to RSVP. 

This month, we will also feature a special “Going Green Tips & Tricks” section in this newsletter. We are encouraging everyone to take at least one action in April to honor Earth Month, whether it is by participating in our Earth Month event, making more sustainable choices in our daily life, or getting out and enjoying Mother Earth. (BONUS: Share your actions during April on Facebook!)

Submit your work for inclusion in this year’s A+ Magazine!

Submission deadline: Friday, April 29

All MasonRice students are invited to submit original creations to be included in this year’s A+ Magazine! The deadline for submissions is just 4 weeks away!

2 Ways to Submit Work for Publication (Be sure to include student’s name and grade with all submissions.):

  1. Drop off the original in the box labeled “A+ Magazine Submissions” located in the school’s main entryway. Originals will be returned.
  2. Email submissions here. You can even take a picture of your creation with a smartphone and email it to us.

Parents, please remember to review your child’s submission(s) for appropriateness. Contact us with any questions.

MasonRice STEAM Playground

When: April 6 (grades K-2) and April 13 (grades 3-5)

Thank you to all of the parents who have signed-up to help. We will be in touch with the Assistants with additional information.

We are looking for old electronic devices for our take-apart station! Have any old computers, keyboards, phones, vacuum cleaners lying around that you no longer use? We can use them for our take-apart station at STEAM Playground! Please bring them to school at drop off or pick up, between April 8th and April 12th, and drop them in the bin in front of the school. Your kids will have a blast taking them apart and learning about the parts!

Spotlight on CAS AuthorFest author Nathan Hale (4th and 5th)!

Nathan Hale is the author and illustrator of the Eisner-nominated, New York Times bestselling graphic novel series on American history Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales. He also created the sci-fi horror comics One Trick Pony and Apocalypse Taco. He is the illustrator of the graphic novel Rapunzel’s Revenge and its sequel, Calamity Jack. He also illustrated Frankenstein: A Monstrous Parody, The Dinosaurs’ Night Before Christmas, and many others. 

Have you ever wanted to meet a famous author or see what your kids are up to at school? Some of the sessions will be open to parent observers! For more information, please contact Martine Bennett.

For more information on CAS AuthorFest, including after-school book sale and signing event, please see our poster. Books from AuthorFest authors are available from Newtonville Books. No purchase is necessary to attend the book signing event, but 20% of the proceeds will go towards future CAS events. 

Reminders & Updates

2nd Grade Service Project and Kickball Fun!

A quick shoutout to the 2nd graders for hosting a service project by collecting items for Welcome Home and enjoying a game of kickball on our MasonRice field after the collection. It was a fantastic turnout, many wonderful items were donated, and it was great fun! Thank you to all families for meeting up and connecting!

Newton Serves at MasonRice

Join us at Mason Rice for Newton Serves on May 1!

Time to jump into Spring by getting dirty at Mason Rice! All families and all ages are welcome to join us in clean up, weeding, mulching, planting, playground repairs and more. Come for an hour or the whole day! This event will happen rain or shine.

Signing up with the city helps us know how many volunteers to expect (plus you get a T-shirt), but last minute volunteers are also welcome. Sign up here.

Contact Kate Wissel with any questions.

Are You Planning to Volunteer in the School this Spring? You MUST Complete a CORI First.

As Covid restrictions lift, parents and caregivers are once-again allowed to volunteer in schools (HOORAY!). Opportunities to volunteer in the Library during your child’s Library special, CAS presentations, and STEAM are all on the horizon! And as MasonRice teachers and staff prepare to welcome parent volunteers back into the building, we remind you that NPS requires Criminal Record (CORI) checks for all volunteers. CORI checks can take up to three weeks, so we encourage the community to print/submit your forms ASAP if you plan to volunteer this year.

To complete the CORI check:

  1. Both the CORI and SORI forms must be printed, completed, and hand-delivered to Monica Carbone in the Main Office.
  2. Upon receipt, Monica will need to see your photo ID; the school is required to keep a copy of your ID in their records.

Note: CORI checks are valid for 3 years. 

Also, for those volunteering in the school within the next three weeks, please see Monica Carbone ASAP as she can help expedite the CORI process.
Questions? Call Monica Carbone at (617)559-9570.

Access NPS’ calendar here.
Access MasonRice’s PTO calendar here.

Upcoming Important M-R Dates

  • 4/6 (K-2) and 4/13 (3-5): M-R STEAM Playground
  • 4/12: AuthorFest
  • 4/15-24: No School (Spring Vacation)
  • 4/28: PTO Board Meeting @ 7:30pm
  • 5/1: Newton Serves
  • 5/4: Walk/Roll/Bike/Bus to School

Support the Businesses that Support Us

Your usual shopping can support PTO-funded activities (such as teacher classroom allowances, appreciation lunches, and curriculum-enhancing programming for all our students). Last year, the Mason-Rice community shopped with our partners and raised nearly $1500 while participation in our Spring '21 Restaurant Series raised an additional $1100

Note that these programs/partnerships, below, run year-round!

  1. Go to Mabel's Labels homepage and click "Support a Fundraiser"
  2. Type and select "Mason-Rice Elementary School PTO"  in the menu
  3. Shop your order and check-out as usual
  4. Mabel's Labels will automatically donate 20% of the order back to the PTO

Enjoy 20% off Minted cards & gifts with promo code [see e-mailed PTO Notes]. 15% of each order will be donated back to the PTO.

Select 'Mason-Rice PTO' with AmazonSmile and the PTO Benefits from Your Everyday Purchases. Set it up once and never again!

#1: Select Mason-Rice as Your AmazonSmile Charity-of-Choice

  1. Visit AmazonSmile and sign in with your credentials.
  2. Choose and select Mason-Rice Elementary School PTO as the charitable organization to receive donations.
  3. Start all of your Amazon shopping at the Smile homepage, versus The shopping experience is the exact same, but your purchases will qualify for Smile commissions to the PTO.

#2: Turn On AmazonSmile on Your Amazon Shopping app

  1. Make sure you're signed up for AmazonSmile in web browser.
  2. Open the Amazon Shopping app and find “Settings” in the main menu (☰).
  3. Tap on “AmazonSmile” (under "Programs & Features") and follow the on-screen instructions to turn on AmazonSmile in the app.
  4. Shop as usual!

(Hot Tip: Anyone can participate, so be sure to share with grandparents and other friends/family!)

Stay in touch. Stay informed. Get involved!