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City Council Blindsides School Dept. with Multi-Million Dollar Cut

New Bedford City Hall

Just when it seemed to be over, the New Bedford City Council has slashed $4-million from the School Department’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget.

Councilor at Large John Saunders proposed the $4-million cut as a way to keep the department’s expenditures under control until it was clear more funding was necessary.

Saunders says the Council has provided the school department with nearly $6-million in extra funds over the past fiscal year, with much of it being misspent on raises and new hires instead of books and other necessities.

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Mayor Jon Mitchell says the vote is extremely disappointing. He tells WBSM News the school budget is already funded at the state’s minimum requirement.

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Mitchell says it’s entirely possible the City could face penalties for underfunding the school budget.

The Council’s vote to cut the school budget stood at 8-2, with Ward 3 Councilor Henry Bousquet and Ward 6 Councilor Joe Lopes voting against the cut.

The Mayor’s entire budget was cut by nearly $5-million, and now stands just under $258-million.

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