Sunday Notes – After Transportation Cost – Cash Contribution to Schools Slightly over 6.5%

If you look at the funding for the City of Lowell School Dept. from the 2018 Budget Presentation you see that the City of Lowell expects to collect in taxes $141,045,987
you will also see that only approx. 12.875% of that or $18,005,691 was budgeted as a cash contribution to the School Dept.

Of that, the School dept. is forced by the City to pay for Transportation which is NOT included in NET School spending and this year is budgeted for $9,043,069 which leaves $9,220,512 or slightly more than 6.5% of local tax dollars being spent on Lowell Schools in direct cash contributions.

Of that $500,011 is budgeted for the Adult Education program which now leaves the School Dept. with $8,720,504 in CASH contributions from the City. No wonder some members of the School Committee want to look at the Chargebacks for Maintenance of Effort the City is taking.

I propose that a quarterly report is generated by the City and given to the School Committee to show what is being charged back to the schools by the City. On top of that there should be a quarterly joint meeting of the Council and School Committee Facilities subcommittees to review the charges and review the open items listed that need repair.

City has a Budget Deficit!

Make no mistake the City of Lowell like many other communities have a structural budget deficit. The biggest difference is while many will be resolved when the State issues their 2018 budget (which is still in committee) Lowell has at the very least a $250,000 deficit because the Manager “gave his word” he would find that money even though he June he can’t say from where.

The approved budget by the School Committee is $162,942,846 but the City ONLY APPROVED a budget for $162,073,324 meaning their is a difference of $869,522.00, of that the Senate’s budget provided $611,629 in additional funding above what the Governor had projected in his budget. If that get’s reduced in anyway due to the uncertainty of the revenue projections (considering the state closed the 2017 year around $450 Million in the hole) either cuts will have to be made in the school budget or the City is on the hook for the entire $869,522.00.

Tell me again how we fund the 9% raises and the $1.4 million the Citizens for Cawley School Committee Candidates want to add for busing to the present High School?

Still haven’t heard what programs they are willing to cut to fund this. I’d vote NO to busing to the downtown, for years it has worked well without it, look at our “improved” attendance and drop out rates!

I’d say the forecasted 1.5% Property tax increase for this year will end up closer to a 3% increase just to fund the operational budgets of the school and city side and oh by the way MOST City Union contracts expire in June of 2018 meaning they will be looking for increases to at least come close to what the School Committee gave the teachers and staff.

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