Greenfield schools want their 1% budget cut money back

  • The Greenfield Town Hall Recorder File Photo/Paul Franz

Recorder Staff
Thursday, February 01, 2018

GREENFIELD — There’s some debate over $195,000 for the Greenfield Public Schools.

Last year, the Town Council voted to cut department budgets by 1 percent across the board, in an effort to slow down the tax rate.

This led to roughly a $195,000 reduction in the school’s budget, but the perception was that this cut was temporary. At a recent Greenfield School Committee budget meeting, member Susan Hollins said her understanding from the City Council was the money would be reinstated during the school year, instead of given to the school upfront.

This point was debated by Mayor William Martin, who was School Committee chairman last year. He said that even if a councilor gives you their word, money is only guaranteed if it’s in the department’s budget.

“You can’t spend more than your budget. Period. Even if one councilor promised it,” Martin said at a recent budget meeting.

This week, the mayor elaborated on this assertion, saying it will be treated like a supplemental budget request.

“It’s the only way we can bring it forward,” Martin said. “We can’t bring it forward saying, ‘You promised us one percent in October.’”

The discussion on whether the schools will be able to get this money is likely come in March, although it may make it onto the council agenda for February, Martin said. Then, councilors will discuss which departments might get their supplemental budget request approved and how much of it.

If approved, the money could help pay for things like positions that were dropped down to part-time or special education costs, School Committee Chairwoman Adrienne Nunez said. And if it’s not approved, she added, there could be cuts in the schools this year, although they will do what they can to weather that potential.