New Bedford Budget Hearing
New Bedford school officials asked for additional funds Thursday night night at a joint budget meeting with the City Council. Some City Councilors pressed those officials on the cost of the athletics program and how students will be affected by staff cuts.
The Council is weighing a $109 million budget proposal recommended by the School Committee, although some Councilors said it should be higher. The budget, which sets spending at the state-mandated minimum, would require the district to eliminate about 250 positions, resulting in layoffs of more than 100 teachers. Councilors have the power only to make cuts and cannot add funds to the budget.
In March, they threatened to withhold money from the fiscal year 2014 budget as a condition of transferring funds to plug a more than $3 million deficit in this year’s budget. However, at the budget hearing, some councilors, like Ward 3 Councilor Henry Bousequet and Ward 1 Councilor Jim Oliveira appeared sympathetic to the arguments of school leaders seeking additional funds.