School Committee to Taxpayers and Businesses – YOUR Money no Object to us

Lowell school board OKs 9% teacher raises over 3 years – Supt. gets 4 year Contract with guaranteed 2.5% Increase (10% Total) over 4 years – The Assistant Superintendent For Curriculum position was budgeted in 2016/2017 for $139,584 and in the proposed 2017/2018 budget it is was approved for $150,000 That’s a 7.5% – 1 year salary increase of $10,416.00

In the 2016/2017 original budget the Asst. Supt. of Student Support Services budgeted salary was $130,244 but during the year this School Committee approved a raise and title of Deputy Supt. adjusting the salary to $145,000 and according to the 2017/2018 approved budget will increase to $150,000. That’s a $19,756 increase in two years.

The School Business Administrator who started in Feb of 2016 had a budgeted salary of $145,000 and in the proposed 2017/2018 budget is increasing to $150,000.

How many people in the private sector receive a $5,000 a year raise or a $10,416 a year raise or a $19,756 raise in two years? Who gets a 9% increase even in the private sector? All voted and approved by the current School Committee.

The contract’s initial year, salary increases will cost approximately $1 million The following year, the raises will impact the budget by $3 million, In the final year of the contract, the salary increases will demand slightly more than $3 million . In the provisions of all four bargaining units, there is also an increase in life insurance from $2,000 to $20,000 in the second year of the contract but no published cost is associated with that nor any projected cost increases to Health Care. In other words the SUPT. quoted only the cost of raises not the added cost of benefits that are included.

This is after he already “FOUND $50,000” in the 2018 budget to split the 1 position of Transportation/ Parent Information Center director into 2 positions and the added cost of benefits to the budget by adding another person.

I find that appalling, especially since presently the 2018 School Budget is still not resolved and the City Manager again in tonight’s City Council meeting (agenda item – motion response) makes it clear – THE CITY CAN’T FIND $250,000 AT THIS TIME BUT INSTEAD MAKE A “PROMISE”..WHAT KIND OF FISCAL ACCOUNTABILITY IS THIS?

I remain committed to finding the $250,000 to transfer to the School Department in FY18 from an available source such as free cash or any potential City-side surplus. Likewise, I remain committed to bringing the City Council a supplemental appropriation vote for the schools for any additional Chapter 70 funding. The state budget is currently heading into conference committee and I anticipate the final budget to be approved in the near future.
In terms of reconciling the numbers, the City’s appropriated number will be reflected in our accounting system to open FY18. However, the school department should feel secure in operating with the knowledge that the $250,000 and any additional Chapter 70 will be transferred in during FY18. If for some reason, Chapter 70 comes in lower than the Senate version; some adjustments by the school department will need to be made

Yet the School Committee still grants a 9% Raise!!!!

Based on all of the above it appears the message to the taxpayers and businesses of the city is clear – MONEY IS NO OBJECT – WE’LL TAKE MORE AND MORE OF YOURS!!

Here’s some tax history that will seem like the good old days in a few years. Keep this in mind / The Council (for now) voted for the 2nd costliest option for a New High School to the taxpayer based on the CFO % increase that does NOT include either the operational increase for busing or any road widening required for Rogers St. and possible eminent domain cost.

Avg. residential tax bill change since 2014 / +6.3%

Avg. residential tax bill change since 2003 /+ 59.5% Imagine where we will be by 2020 with a School Committee that gives increases in this fashion and the upcoming increase in busing cost for Cawley?

Average Single Family Tax Bill – 2017 with Cawley- $4,079
Average Single Family Tax Bill – 2017 /$3,788
Average Single Family Tax Bill – 2016 /$3,599
Average Single Family Tax Bill – 2015 / $3,480
Average Single Fam Tax Bill – 2014 / $3,273
Average Single Fam Tax Bill – 2013 / $3,273
Average Single Fam Tax Bill – 2012 / $3,236
Average Single Fam Tax Bill – 2011 / $3,205
Average Single Fam Tax Bill – 2003 /$2,182