Does this City Council REALLY believe in Fiscal Transparency?
At the request of the School Committee, Mayor Samaras has brought forward this motion.
M. Samaras – Req. City Council Direct City Mgr. Break Out Costs Of Transportation And Adult Education From Cash Contribution Provided By The City In The Budget. (Req. Per School Committee)
Earlier this year, this School Committee was told that the school department’s budget is based on the cash contribution from the city and state aid. The city is required to contribute 24% and the state 76% of the foundation budget. The City required contribution comes in the form of cash and in-kind services. These in-kind services are costs incurred by the city such as administrative overhead, utilities and other costs made on behalf of the school department. These costs are outlined in the memorandum of agreement that is also under review by the business office and the city’s finance office.
Then Manager Murphy provided the School Superintendent with a letter in February that included the following information
What’s misleading here is the statement that I am proposing the full Chapt. 70 funding. My understanding is that State Law mandates Chapt 70 funding can only be used for Education. Implying you have any choice but to supply the full state funding is disingenuous to say the least and willfully misleading to state the obvious.
Stating the City is supplying $15,736,053 from the tax levy without information to the public that $9,600,541 of that is for transportation cost that doesn’t count towards NET School spending and by law is a State mandated cost to the city is at the least non transparent and in my view a direct attempt at misleading the public.
Not informing the public that another $486,274.00 is to Pay for adult education which is not state mandated not part of net school spending and not required by law but by the will of the City Council to fund is also misleading the public by not being transparent.
The FACT is the City gave the School Dept ONLY $5,649,737.00 from the Tax Levy!
The Argument from Manger Donoghue that it’s always been done this way is not only weak but disappointing. The City has always done maintenance to it’s schools and public safety buildings the same way and look at the deplorable conditions all these are currently in.
Just because you’ve done it the same way does not mean it is the correct way.
The City’s position, as has always been, is that the School Department funds transportation out of the total appropriation approved each year by the City Council. Each year in the budget, the City Council votes on a recommended single, lump sum appropriation for the School Department’s annual funding. This amount is intended to fund all costs associated with the city’s educational system, including the transportation of students. The budget for transportation is compiled and managed by the school administration, as is the case with all other educational expenses.
The argument that the City is regularly exceeding NET School spending by finally doing basic maintenance after years under many of these councilors of ignoring it, is also sad and misleading.
Look at us we are finally doing what we should be doing and exceeding net school spending by charging every last nickel we can on paper to our NET School Spending requirement. Aren’t we great and wonderful!
In politics you frequently hear about transparency. I believe SEVERAL of the current Councilors have talked about it. Are they serious or is it just feel good political speech?
All this motion is seeking is Fiscal transparency from the City Manager and City Council.
Do they believe in Fiscal Transparency?