Trash Increased Charged to Schools STINKS!

Part of my role on the School Committee is to serve on subcommittees and I’ve been fortunate to be named Chairman of the Finance Subcommittee.

In that role I envision working with the Superintendent, School Committee and City Administration and Council in coming to an agreement on the Maintenance of Effort Agreement or Chargebacks by the City towards meeting their Net School spending requirements or whatever you want to call this agreement.

At last week’s School Committee meeting in response to Jackie Doherty’s motion we received this chart showing the cost charged by the city from 2015 – 2017

2015-2017 Mainten of Effort

Previously the former School Committee (2015) received this report from then Deputy Supt. Lang showing an agreement between the School Dept. and City and what/how in some instances these cost were generated and what they were from 2011-2015.
City of Lowell NSS (FY11 – FY15)

A couple items caught my eye for being higher than what had been but the one that jumped out at me the most is the cost of TRASH!

In the 2011 – 2015 report the cost charged according to Dr. Lang was a low of $169,064.00 in 2015 ( compared to a high of $191,286.00 in 2012)

The agreement states how those numbers would be reached.

Trash Removal and Recycling: To calculate the trash removal expense the following formula shall be applied: The total yards per week of trash removed for the public schools x 88.35 pounds per years x $ 70 per ton x 40 weeks of school. To calculate the recycling expense the following formula shall be applied: Total expense of the City of Lowell x 3.28% (total percentage of trash removal expense).

Yet according to this Manager and Administration the 2015 cost somehow SKYROCKETED in 2015 to – $322,037.00

It increased again in 2016 to – $341,095.25 (+ $19,058.00)
with a slight decrease in 2017 $339,942.88

Why did the cost jump in 2015 by $152,973 with NO explanation I can find given to the School Committee (Not that I can find anyone asking about it either)?

Yet if you look at the City of Lowell Municipal Budget, there is no huge jump in cost from 2014 to 2015 in what the city pays.

In fact in 2016 the cost went DOWN by $8,198

School enrollment was under 50 plus in the 2014/2015 school year to the 2015/2016 school year but I can’t believe that explains such a large jump!

The City has increased their maintenance of buildings (whether you believe that or not) just look at the numbers and for that they should be applauded.

However this HUGE SPIKE in TRASH Fee’s stinks and needs some explanation from the Administration.