The $2.5 Million Question

Do Schools Get Money or Does Mayor Spend It?

By Josh Resnek

The $2.5 million of state funding secured by Senator Sal DiDomenico in July and scheduled to be distributed to the public schools to hire back laid off teachers and to improve the size of overcrowded classrooms, may not be distributed to the EPS.

A number of city hall sources, including  a prominent councilor, told the Leader Herald last week the $2.5 million was likely to remain in the city’s general fund account at the mayor’s request.

“The schools are not going to get this money,” the mayor said, according to the source. “He said the schools had gotten enough, including the $6 million it got recently to make up a shortfall.”

Superintendent of Schools Frederick Foresteire said the mayor keeping that money in the general fund account is a travesty.

“That money was fought for very hard by Senator DiDomenico. He led the fight for relief for 11 cities similar to Everett done in by the state’s arcane and ineffectual reimbursement program. This wasn’t about an effort by the senator to help out Wellesley and Weston. It was about helping the Everett’s of this state,” he added.

The $2.5 million would be used to bring back teachers laid off in July to meet budgetary constraints placed upon the EPS by being constantly underfunded by the administration.

The $2.5 million destined for the EPS was agreed to by the Senate after the Everett city budget was closed.

The Everett city budget was complete and voted upon in June.

The $2.5 million was agreed to in July.

Foresteire said the funds are necessary to support the achievement level that the EPS have reached.

“This isn’t about comparing us to richer communities,” Foresteire said.

“This is about maintaining Everett’s achievement level, which is high when measured among similar communities,” he added.

Foresteire was adamant about the money being a necessity to bring down classroom size and to maintain achievement levels.

“We are not going to maintain a level of success we have achieved with so many of our classrooms with 30 or more students and a one teacher. As is the case in many of our classes right now. We must bring down classroom size. We need to hire back more teachers. We need to watch carefully the performance of all our personnel,” said Foresteire.

 

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