Now that we have moved on from the Superintendent issue there is a lot of work remaining.
Putting aside the threat of a lawsuit and the inaccurate information you hear from ignorant, uninformed radio and City Life host, Facebook warriors and biased newspaper stories, we as a School Committee have to address the following issues.
1) How to address the $2.4 million dollar deficit.
2) Demanding from the Mayor that we receive the long overdue Financial Audit
3) Request/ Demand update on Fire code violations, Sanitary Code violations and concerns and if any safety concerns highlighted in Building Report have been addressed.
4) Review existing process to find out how employees were not properly accounted for
5) Review processes to see how, why employees were mis-classified and over compensated
6) Review processes that allowed employees job descriptions and duties changed without approval or explanation to the School Committee
7) Implement process that mandates School Committee be informed in the budget the percentages of cost being charged to revolving accounts along with a copy of DECE guidelines
8) Demand per State Law, City negotiates a new Maintenance of Effort Agreement or Per Chap 603 CMR 10.00 we contact the Education Commissioner’s Office and request designee to conduct hearing.
9) Vote to request the City Council direct the City Manager to break out cost of Transportation and Adult Education from Cash contribution provided by the City in budget and not act on any Council requests until it is voted on.
10) Ensure School Administration submits as requested School Rezoning plan by January of 2019
The Maintenance of Effort cost is a huge charge that will only climb unless we address it. Here is what we have been charged through the 2016/2017 school year.
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 Manager Murphy and his 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 on the previous School Committee asking about it either)? When I asked I received no response from the Manager.
I can’t find in the City budget any other department charged for trash pick up , including those like the Fire Dept with various locations and with the city negotiating a new trash contract that we are told will be much higher in cost I shutter to think what the city will now put on the school department.