Two weeks ago, The Everett Stimulus. reported exclusively that 103 positions—including 67 teachers—in the city’s school department would be axed before the new school year starts unless the department gets a new infusion of cash from the city. Since then, the city council received a budget presentation from the DeMaria administration and multiple attempts to get comment from Superintendent Fred Foresteire have failed. Monday night, the school committee finally discussed the situation.
In the report March 10, it was reported here that the teachers and other staff have already received their layoff notices. “We’re getting less money now than we did in 2016,” Foresteire said Monday.
The big culprit in the school funding situation is a change in the formula used to distribute state aid, an issue that is being addressed by state Sen. Sal DiDimenico in the upcoming state budget. “In the senate budget this year we have put together what I believe is a simple fix, but a permanent fix that I believe will help us get back to the funding levels that we had before,” said DiDomenico.
Everett is not the only city adversely affected by the funding formula change. Yet other cities are not threatening large scale layoffs.
The school department’s finances are a disturbingly moving target. Only Foresterie seems to know exactly what the numbers are. Back in February, he was saying the school needed an additional $9 million to avoid the layoff of 110 people from the department. That led to protests at city hall with sign-carrying students, parents and teachers demanding the city pony up the money and save the jobs. At a raucous city council meeting, Foresteire got $5 million.
After the vote, the superintendent specifically told The Everett Stimulus. that the $5 million would stave off layoffs for one month only. He then told the Everett Independent he would use money from the school revolving account to make up about $1.5 million and would rely on money not spent within the budget for the additional amount. If that is the case, why was he looking for $9 million from the city council in the first place?
Now, Foresteire wants another infusion of money somewhere in the neighborhood of $6.5 million to stave off the loss of school department jobs.