If we can’t afford $250,000 how can splitting Coordinator position or adding LHS busing be funded?

On the City Council Agenda tomorrow night (beside the High School Vote) is the following item.

M. Kennedy – Req. City Mgr. Reconcile The FY18 Budget With Regards To The School Department.

The Mayor is looking for the $250,000 in additional funding the Manager verbally committed to for the upcoming budget.

My guess is that the Mayor knows the Manager doesn’t have that available, he said so the night of the budget hearing. It’s just another way to remind people how tight the budget is.

In the approved budget you will note for the very first time ever, that this Superintendent split the Family Resource Center Coordinator and Coordinator of Transportation into two positions at $48,318 even though one person has been doing an outstanding job at it for $96,636

Maybe he wanted to eliminate the current coordinator all along. Rumors say a $10,000 increase like what the first year Asst. Superintendent received, would have kept the coordinator a 10 year employee.

Instead with the present coordinator leaving this School Committee has a fiduciary responsibility to make sure this Superintendent holds the line on those or that salary. Splitting those positions at a new salary of $65,000 each adds $34,000 plus additional cost of benefits and health insurance. Where is that money going to come from?

How will they justify letting him add more salary to his inner circle by breaking these into two higher paying positions when they just begged the Council for money to keep library aides and they still have a large grievance hanging over them?

If the city is having a hard time find $250,000, why are other current school committee candidates advocating for 25 new buses at a cost of Approx. $1,475,000 to bus student to the current Lowell High? That’s just $425,000 under the 1.5% Levy increase included in this year’s budget.

Earlier this year the current Mayor and School committee were lauding the improved attendance and lower drop out rate. How is spending $1,475,000 going to change that much more?

1) Improvements in chronic absenteeism,
Average Number of Days absent went from 9.9 to 9.5

2) Improvement in Drop Out Rate

On May 16th The Lowell Supt. of Schools was quoted about the need for additional funding in that article he said: “We’re hoping that the city finds a way to help us with the rest of it,” Schools Superintendent Salah Khelfaoui said. “We just can’t find any other way to cut. The next cut we have to do is going to affect the schools. There’s no other way.”

Candidates Blake and Creegan have been advocating that we need to start busing, not waiting for Cawley or a renovation downtown but they either are ignoring the frailty of the current budget, don’t understand the way the funding works or just want to raise property taxes another 1.25% to bus High School students. Neither has offered a way to pay for the busing just stating they support it.

Where is the $1,475,000 coming from?

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