DISCLAIMER:The following is my personal opinion and may not be agreed with or supported by a majority of the School Committee.
Approval of the Minutes of the Budget Hearing and regularly scheduled Lowell School Committee Meeting of Wednesday, May 16, 2018
The Superintendent stated that the City Manager has agreed to eliminate the water and sewerage charge to the School Department and that will result in approximately $250,000 being return to the school department.
The City Manager also agreed to transfer the Comcast (PEG) funding to the school department and that will amount to $250,000. Dr. Khelfaoui stated that going forward both City Manager Donoghue and himself feel very confident about the money that the school department will be receiving from the state.
Except that what happened in fact was the City Manager authorized the exact same amount of funding as last year in this years City Council approved budget.
So how does the Superintendent walk into a School Committee meeting stating the city has agreed to transfer $250,000 if the Manager has not put it in the budget?
She has since stated publicly she doesn’t know where that figure came from?
Someone is not telling the entire facts as they occurred! The question is who? A new Manager or a Superintendent with at best a spotty history of sound financial policy?
Who’s “misremembering “ or “mis-stating” facts regarding PEG funding?
We have a “Special” meeting of the School Committee this Thursday night to look into how we find the funding for the TV studio or do we just scrap the program because we have no funding?
Here’s a few other questions (to the objection I’m sure of the Superintendent’s PR director Paul Georges) that I’ll be asking
How does a Superintendent present a budget showing $292,875 in total salary cost but NOT HIGHLIGHT or even casually mention to the School Committee at a budget meeting that by the way we are still $42,875.00 short for salaries even with the $250,000?
Why not mention that in the previous year the PEG account was charged for only 2 salaries totaling $145,846 but even then only received $108,145?
How did the balance of those salaries get paid?
If we paid for 1 teacher out of the General Fund last year, why did we move ALL salaries into an already underfunded account? The previous Manager I’m told made it clear the money coming from the PEG account wasn’t going to be increased so why did we move all of the of the salaries there knowing that?
Was the intent to always kill the Production Studio?
Was the resentment over the Municipal Modernization Act moving control of PEG funding to the City a reason to try to play hardball over funding the studio program? Was the hope that since the Van funding was approved but not followed through on that the city instead would transfer those funds to the School Dept.?
Hopefully on Thursday we will find out answers to these questions and find a way to fund the Production Studio.