Battles to get funding restored to budget
By JOSH RESNEK
The mayor repeatedly asked Superintendent of Schools Priya Tahiliani if she was going to be needing an extra $1 million over the School Department budget allotment at Monday night’s School Committee meeting.
“We are asking for what the schools are owed,” she shot back to the mayor.
What she said, in other words, is that the School Department is looking for the money “stolen” from its account by the mayor – which he has told her he would give back.
“Do you know what you need above budget?” the mayor asked Tahiliani again and again.
Again, and again, she rebuffed the mayor in an attempt to set him straight about who owes the School Department what.
“We are asking for reimbursements for planned spending. We are not overspending our budget,” she added.
Since the mayor removed $471,000 from the School Department budget without informing her, the School Department has been trying to have the money refunded, along with $581,000 for rent for the Devens School the mayor is withholding.
“I think you’re confused,” the mayor said to Tahiliani.
Unperturbed, she shot back, “I think you are confused.”
The mayor continued his effort to make it appear Tahiliani had overspent her budget and insisted that she is asking the mayor for $1 million in free cash held by the city.
At one point, as Tahiliani explained to the mayor about the difficulties he has caused to exist since taking the funding away from the schools, he made several efforts to intervene.
‘”Excuse me. I’m talking,” she told the mayor.
If the mayor fails to return the money to the schools, the students at the Devens School will be required to be schooled out of the city.
“We don’t want to do that,” said the mayor.
It is expected the mayor will return the money to the schools but not before creating a narrative that makes it appear that Tahiliani overspent her budget – which clearly – she didn’t.