Cities and Towns get credit or penalized for meeting or not meeting their NET School spending requirement which is set by the State. However there are other cost that are in fact school related that city’s and towns get no credit for but still pay the cost.
For example any New Construction or Renovations through the MSBA for LHS, whatever the cities portion of that cost is, will be paid by the city not school dept. and has no bearing on Net School Spending. Same with the Lowell or Dracut share of the Tech School, the city or town pays their share of the cost and it does NOT come out or count toward NET school spending.
The following expenses are reported to DESE (Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education ) however do not count toward net school spending, Lowell doesn’t have charges for every item listed below but they do for many:
Short Term Debt Service/Interest (BANS)-Actual interest paid in borrowing for Bond anticipation Notes (BANS) on bonds and loans used to finance the purchase of textbooks, equipment or technology and school building maintenance and construction.
Health Services for Non-Public Schools -The salaries of health personnel who provide direct services or instruction to non-public school students, as well as the related costs for supplies and materials
Other Fixed Charges -The actual expended budget for crossing guards and The actual expended budget for public safety inspections
Acquisition, Improvement and Replacement of Fixed Assets -The total actual fees due, in excess of the $ 100,000** budgeted within the Lowell Public Schools operating budget, to the City of Lowell Parking Department for the rental of monthly parking spaces at the George Ayotte and Joseph Downes Parking Facilities as of June 30 of each given year.
** beginning in the 2016/2017 budget the City is also paying the $100,000 NOT THE SCHOOL DEPT.
Long Term Debt Retirement/School Construction -The annual principal of loans used to finance the purchase or construction of schools.
Long Term Debt Service/School Construction – The annual interest payment on bonds and loans used to finance the purchase or construction of schools.
Long Term Debt Service/Educational Expenditures – The annual interest payment on bonds and loans used to finance the purchase of books, instructional equipment and extraordinary maintenance projects.
Long Term Debt Service/Other – The annual interest payment on bonds and loans used to finance the purchase of non-instructional equipment, and to pay for capital maintenance projects in excess of fifty thousand dollars.
Massachusetts School Building Authority Construction Aid – MSBA Annual Contract Revenues MSBA One-Time Revenues
In addition every year the School Dept. with the City are required to file an END of Year Report that reports all spending including chargebacks and DESE has to approve it. I contacted DESE and received the City of Lowell’s 2015 End of Year report. You need to have Joe Smith’s level of financial understanding to make much sense out of it but it is chock full of information.
For those who wonder about my concern with this Supt. ability to grasp a budget this large in a community this size I’ve included the 2014 End of Year report for Winchendon which is so small in comparison to Lowell, that you might understand my concern that his proposed budget will leave Lowell looking for additional funds mid-year.