, Gloucester, MA

Breaking News

Letters/My View

September 3, 2013

Letter: Challenging mayor's 'free cash' priorities

To the editor:

This is an open letter to our elected officials.

Its my understanding that the City Council recently requested a preliminary estimate of the potential “free cash” for FY13.

The auditor’s guesstimate pegs it at about $3 million in general fund “free cash” for the fiscal year, including a significant chunk — $1.1 million — as a direct result of the closing of the Gloucester Community Arts Charter School.

The question I have for the members of our two elected bodies is why didn’t that funding find its way back to the district budget despite the repatriation of approximately 100 charter students? And what of the impact on the existing students as a result of the need for extra staffing, tutoring and additional sped services required for those children?

While the operational budget for the year may have been set, there are plenty of needs desperately requiring filling that would have benefitted from this significant funding. It is possible, and indeed would have been responsible, to adapt to changing fiscal dynamics and redirect that funding back to the district and other underfunded services. It is my understanding that such an appropriation would have been legal and appropriate.

So what happened? Why was this money left on the table to augment the mayor’s seemingly insatiable appetite for amassing “free cash” at the expense of funding critical core services?

Occasional, modest levels of “free cash” are one thing, but when this kind of excess happens year after year, it becomes clear that the mayor is being enabled in her bacchanalia by a City Council and a School Committee unwilling to challenge her on this front.

As I write out one check after another for bus fees ($400), athletic fees ($230), basic school supplies ($300-plus), activity fees (to be determined), and watch continued privation in our classrooms and sacrifices to our programs, I have to wonder at what point the reckless quest for “free cash” is going to be reined in by a School Committee and City Council willing to challenge the mayor on her priorities.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Letters/My View

NDN Video
Famous Internet Cats Help Big Cause With Viral Video Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2" Pitch Invading Morons Cause Chaos - @TheBuzzeronFOX Orlando Bloom 'Takes a Swing' at Justin Bieber In Ibiza Sadie Doesn't Want Her Brother to Grow Up "Maxim" Hotness! See Jessica Alba's Sizzling Spread Two women barely avoid being hit by train Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Orlando Bloom and Justin Bieber Reportedly Came To Blows In Ibiza Meet the Man Behind Dumb Starbucks