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.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

State Approves HS Funding, but with a Catch

The Massachusetts School Building Authority yesterday approved covering 56.42% of the cost of Beverly's new high school, according to Mayor Scanlon. Today's Salem News has the story. That is higher than the originally expected 50% reibursement, or even Scanlon's more rosey recent estimate of 55%.

But the devil in the details is that the Authority also capped the cost of the project at $75 million, which is considerably less that the current estimate of $82.8 million.

Scanlon says he hopes that this cap isn't the final word, saying "
I'm led to believe this can be adjusted, I believe they're going to change (the figures)."

According to the News story:

Scanlon said the MSBA directors set the project cost at $75 million because they were under the impression the city could come back later and ask for more money. But Scanlon said the city needs the full $82.8 million to be approved by the state now because the City Council must vote on the appropriation.

Scanlon said the city could not afford the project if the state paid its share based on $75 million rather than $82.8 million.

"We'd just put an unacceptable strain on the city if we were paying 100 percent over $75 million," he said.

"The project wouldn't be feasible at that total," he said.

Scanlon said he is scheduled to meet with Craven and other MSBA officials tomorrow or Friday to straighten out the $75 million figure. He said he will go before the City Council on Monday night with all of the updated information.

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