Mayor’s office offers ways to give more money to schools

  • Greenfield Town Hall FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 5/15/2019 10:43:45 PM

GREENFIELD — City Councilors received data from the mayor’s office Wednesday on ways it can approach the School Committee’s $20 million budget, which is $1.3 million more than what the mayor later recommended.

The information provided to the council comes a week before the May 22 vote on the city’s $51.3 million budget.

The Ways and Means Committee will meet tonight for the last time to discuss the budget, 6 p.m. in City Hall.

Off the bat, if the council wants, it could add about $350,000 to the mayor’s $18.625 million proposed school budget, which comes from about $91,250 of recently found internal savings and $257,500 of additional Chapter 70 funding, based on revised numbers from the state.

Adding this amount to the mayor’s proposed budget would leave nearly a $1 million difference from what the schools requested. 

The mayor’s office see the school budget proposing $800,000 in new hires; Superintendent Jordana Harper’s Business Manager Steve Nembrikow says its less than $125,000 in new hires and “all other additions were offset by corresponding reductions to a variety of operational lines programs.” The mayor’s office said the $800,000 can be reduced either in its entirety or significantly.

Mayor William Martin, who is also a member of the Greenfield School Committee, said the superintendent has offered some wiggle room in her number.

While school officials have been cautious in leaning on revolving funds to pay for the school’s needs, the mayor’s office said somewhere between $300,000 and $400,000 can be used safely and in good practice.

The council could also increase taxes to pay for the schools, Greenfield Finance Director Liz Gilman said.

As is, the tax rate would go up by 36 cents to $22.72 if the council approves the mayor’s budget based on the latest numbers from the state.

If the council were to add $1 million to the schools, without using additional savings or revenue, Gilman projects the tax rate would increase to $23.45 from today’s $22.36, a $1.09 hike. If the council chose to add $500,000, the tax rate would rise by 69 cents.

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