There is a problem brewing here and it goes like this: every year, the Everett public schools have been growing in numbers by 300-400 students system wide.
This is nobody’s fault. These kids have shown up on our doorstep. They live here. They play here. They have to be educated here, by law, and in the best manner we can accomplish the task.
The problem comes when the city must deal with paying for all the educational services and attendant services that are mandated by the state of Massachusetts and the federal government.
Mind you, the city can and does pay its fair share but the funding mechanism is flawed and the to do about getting some free cash from the city in order to meet this year’s financial requirements is not a one off, as the English might tend to call it.
It is a situation that is going to be recurring. Why?
Because the public schools are funded and reimbursed money by the state based on the public school population from the previous year.
The question that must be answered in the light of this is what, exactly, is the city going to do from year to year to fund the nearly 300-400 additional students coming into the system each year?
How are the public schools able to create a meaningful budget based on last year’s population statistics?
Well, the answer is, they can’t.
Recent meetings between the city government and the school department here produced an array of emotions from a variety of people who understand the problem and from those who don’t.
The bottom-line, whether we want to face it or not or change what we do to meet the new challenge is this: Everett can no longer fund the schools at a minimum level.
Every year at budget time, the school department must incorporate the expected number of new students (based upon growth from the year before) and incorporate into that budget the expected cost for all those students to be placed in classrooms with additional teachers and everything it takes to educate them that the city is by law ordered to provide.
If this is done, we won’t have go through the torture of watching school department officials looking like pan handlers in the eyes of some members of the city government who don’t believe the public schools take additional moneys to run.
The Sal Sachetta’s, Mike Marcheses, and Rosemary Millers of this city don’t seem to understand that with all the additional students and the mandates that are forced upon the school system require absolute funding of those mandates or our public school system will lose its accreditation and all the goodwill that comes with it.
The public school’s here are not perfect, but the offerings here for the children of immigrant and working class people are clearly outstanding.
This is why so many new people and families are moving into the city and why so many of those people and their children end up in public school here.
Next year’s budget must have an addendum that identifies the expense for 300 new students which must be met.
To do anything else is to be fooling ourselves.