The School Department's $3.5-million deficit continues to loom over the City of New Bedford.

The Council delayed approval of the transfer of funds once again, referring the motion to the Council's Finance Committee, which meets next week.

The Council says it has heard nothing from the Mayor and the School Committee, after requesting a yes or no answer as to whether the $3.5-million will be paid back into the City's "rainy day fund".

Ward 2 Councilor Steve Martins says the Council is just trying to implement a responsible solution.

Mayor Jon Mitchell says there will be severe consequences if the Council refuses to fund the School Department's deficit.

Mitchell says the School Department is already facing more than 200 layoffs next year due to budget constraints.

He calls the Council's decision to delay the vote "political posturing".