NEW: House Budget Proposal Would Give Worcester An Extra $1.9M
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Committee members disagreed with Gov. Deval Patrick's budget proposal that would level-fund local aid and provide additional money later if the state reached certain revenue benchmarks. Instead, the committee proposed adding the money to the base "Cherry Sheet" distribution.
That subjects the money to an education aid formula, requiring the city to provide an additional $700,000 to the school system. That increases the city’s required contribution to schools in fiscal 2013 from $85.7 million to $89.2 million, City Manager Michael O’Brien said in a memo to councilors.
The news gets even better for the school system, because Patrick's budget proposal calls for a $9.3-million increase in Ch. 70 funding (state education aid), meaning Worcester schools would see a total increase of about $13 million in aid.
As O’Brien noted, the city is getting a bonus, too. Once the schools get their $700,000, Worcester is left with a gain of $1.9 million. O’Brien knows exactly how it should be used.
“I believe it to be a reasonable assumption to apply this recommended net new revenue to the previously detailed $3.2 million deficit, reducing the gap to $1.4 million for fiscal 2013,” he said. “I will work to close this remaining deficit prior to a final budget recommendation submission to City Council in the coming weeks. I remain confident that I will resolve the remaining $1.4 million deficit, maintain service levels, and improve service levels, wherever possible.”
The House Budget recommendation, he added, “provides the opportunity to plan and to appropriate the additional funding to address the priorities of the community and this City Council. I am very grateful for the leadership of our State House Delegation and for their efforts to increase our Unrestricted Local Aid.”
In total, the House proposal would increase “up-front” local aid to communities by $65 million.