If you look at the attached list from the DESE Chapt. 70 Website, you see that the City of Lowell is Required by Law to contribute $47,400,845.00 to meet the city’s Net School Spending Requirement, while the State in Chapt. 70 funds $150,935,483.00
If you look at the City Budget, you will see a cash contribution of $15,736,053 leaving the City a balance of $31,664,792.00
Usually the balance between the cash contribution and the City’s obligation is made up by what the city charges for “Indirect” cost or services provided by other city departments to the Schools that the city can write off or charge against their Net School Spending obligation.
If you look above at the history of what the City has charged for “Maintenance of Effort” (also online) or service provided by other city departments you will see it has NEVER exceeded $25,819,594.67 which was the 2018 Fiscal Year. PEG (Comcast funding) is a separate account and has NEVER been included in the Maintenance of Effort Agreement. Major renovations/ Repairs like the roof or heating systems cannot be charged to Maintenance of effort, they are viewed as Capital projects.
From Fiscal year 2017 to Fiscal Year 2018 those charges increased by just over 9.5% or $2,279,822.70 the single largest increase for the records I have since 2011.
The increase between 2017 $23,539,771.98 and 2016 $22,834,383.43 was mush LESS only $705,388.55
Between 2016 and 2015 the increase was VERY MINIMAL $389,928.10
How will the City of Lowell meet 2018/2019 NET School Spending Requirements? Even if they charge a 10% increase over the 2018 total of $25,819,594.67 , it would result in not only a record increase, it “ONLY” adds another $2,581,959.47 towards what the City by State Law is required to spend..
Adding in the additional $250,000.00 that the City is taking on for Water and Sewage Charges for the Schools which was originally in the school budget for $185,000.00 brings that total to $28, 651,554.14
If you take the balance required of $31,664,792.00 and subtract the $28,522,456.17
That leaves a balance of $3,013,237.86 required by STATE LAW just to meet Net School Spending.
I am doubtful the City can meet its obligation.
Where is that $3,013,237.86 coming from and when will the School Dept. receive it?