This site aims to inform and mobilize Beverly parents to take an active role in all issues related to the funding and operation of the city's schools. It was launched in the spring of 2008, when the city saw its first-ever override attempt fail, followed by the closure of a nearly-new elementary school. Subsequent years have seen further cuts that have led to larger class sizes across the district. While the opening of an impressive new high school and plans to replace the city's aging middle school give us reason to be optimistic, the school community must be ever vigilant in demanding appropriate school funding by city and state governments, and better community communications from the district and School Committee.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Beverly City Council members e-mail

Tim Flaherty (At-large/Pres.) - flahertyt@hotmail.com
978-927-1638

Bill Coughlin (At-large) - willocogie@comcast.net
978-927-2433

Pat Grimes (At-large) - p.grimes@comcast.net
978-927-6244

Maureen Troubetaris (Ward 1) - Mtrouble123@msn.com
978-927-5681

Wes Slate (Ward 2) - wslate@beverlyma.gov
978-927-4844

John Burke (Ward 3)- jburke@beverlyma.gov
978-921-0499

Kevin Hobin (Ward 4) - k.hobin@comcast.net
978-922-6498

Don Martin (Ward 5) - donandmichelemartin@comcast.net
978-927-8888

Judith Cronin (Ward 6) - judithcronin@comcast.net
978-921-5893

7 comments:

CKMonahan said...

Right now the City Council cannot help us. They can only accept or reduce the budget request submitted by the School Committee. The School Committee was elected to serve our schools. Therefore they must submit a budget the best serves our children. The balancing is done by our City officials - the Mayor and the City Council.

Please contact your school committee member to urge them to submit an appropriate budget and not to accept the Mayor's number.

David Manzi – Ward 1
Telephone: 978-921-0123
e-mail: dmanzigoldcoast@aol.com

Paul A. Manzo – Ward 2
Telephone: 978-927-9912
e-mail: paulmanzo@comcast.net

James F. Latter – Ward 3
Telephone: 978-921-8874
e-mail: jimlatter@hotmail.com

Karen Fogarty - Ward 4
Telephone: 978-927-4617
Email: karenfogerty@comcast.net

Annemarie Cesa - Ward 5
Telephone: 978-922-4052
Email: momcesa@comcast.net

Maria T. Decker – Ward 6
Telephone: 978-927-1013
e-mail: mtdecker@comcast.net

B.G. Lewandowski said...

Two items can be found to add a bit more detail of what can and can not be done in this case.

While the School Committee is indeed there to submit a budget "to adequately meet the educational needs of the student" (Section B of the Policy Manual) it also has to follow the following rule...

The Beverly School Committee Rules and By-Laws (Section B of the Policy Manual) say that when a budget is being put together, that members of the school committee are required to:

"Work to ensure that necessary funds are appropriated for the district and that a balance is maintained between needs and resources in the distribution of available monies."

That is legal speak for requiring the submission of a balanced budget. It does not say say they can't get more funds, it just says they must have a way to do it in place when they submit the budget (which by their own By-Laws says must be at least 21 days before the Mayor presents his city budget).


Also, down the road, the City council is NOT powerless to change the budget that the Mayor submits.

According to Massachusetts General Law (Chapter 44: Section 32. Submission to city council; procedure for approval, rejection or alteration) states:

"..in the case of the school budget or in the case of a regional school district assessment, the city council, on the recommendation of the school committee or on recommendation of a regional district school committee, may by a two-thirds vote increase the total amount appropriated for the support of the schools or for the regional district schools over that requested by the mayor; and provided, further, that no such increase shall be voted if it would render the total annual budget in excess of the property tax limitations set forth in section twenty-one C of chapter fifty-nine."

B.G. Lewandowski said...

One update to my previous comment:

The City Charter of Beverly supposedly says that a Councilor can not alter a line item but say yeah or nay to it. The State says otherwise.

The Solicitor's Office is be asked to see who takes precedent.

I will let you know as soon a sI find out what the priority is...

CKMonahan said...

This issue is addressed through City Charter Section 1-4 which claims all powers to the government that it has a right to even if they are not specifically claimed. This means even though the Charter doesn't address this - state law does. MGL c. 44 s. 32 grants the City Council the authority to exceed the Mayor's recommendation for schools up to the amount recommended by the School Committee. The key is that the School Committee must recommend a higher amount than the Mayor. Otherwise, the Council cannot exceed the Mayor's request.

B.G. Lewandowski said...

Perfect. The school committee is showing an 8% - 9% increase in their budget right now.

They still have to show, by their own by-laws, that they have attempted to balance the budget.

What is the best way then to make sure everyone sees this 9% increase that is needed? Does the School Committee need to send a statement or speak at a City Budget hearing?

CKMonahan said...

My understanding is that they have to pass a budget reflecting the 9% increase that is needed. The City Council is then in the position to argue for the increase and make the necessary cuts elsewhere in the City Budget to balance that budget.

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