This past Tuesday I had the honor of getting sworn into office as a member of the Lowell School Committee. On Wednesday we had our first meeting and we were presented with a couple of issues that we will have to address shortly and asked to vote to request the Manager send more funding.
Trying to understand the emotional and social impact on students and families and the fiscal implications of moving a day school, moving stem students and staff, moving troubled students back to their sending schools while closing a program and reassigning staff is a daunting challenge but we must address this sooner than later.
The vote to support the request to have the Manager transfer the following funds based on the provided explanation seemed easier to support.
In fact on the City Council Agenda this week the Manager is transferring the $250,000 he committed to the School Dept in June.
Why the E-trade and School Choice funds aren’t included isn’t known to me especially since if you look up these two items they seem to be clearly dedicated School funds. Maybe the Manager will explain Tuesday or will reply to the official request from the Asst, Superintendent of Finance.
What also caught my attention is the explanation of the “Free Cash” by the Manager. It appears the City had a little over $8.8 million in “free cash” but once they deduct what wasn’t paid in Personal Property and Real Estate tax and other items that are listed as overdrawn and deficit accounts it leaves the city with a little over $4.8 million .
Which leaves me to wonder how the School Dept. closed their fiscal year claiming to have a $71,000 surplus when the list above shows roughly $79,000 (not counting Special Ed Transportation) in overdrawn or deficit accounts that are at least in my view school related?
Trying to better understand the reality of school and municipal finances is going to be my focus for this term.