New Bedford is facing financial devastation if the state imposes another unfunded mandate. Hugh Dunn is leading a unification movement in the City Council.

The state of Massachusetts, under Republican Charlie Baker and the folks at the conservative Pioneer Institute, is looking to expand the number of charter school seats, and New Bedford is ground zero.

New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell has made an informed decision to oppose the expansion of charter school seats in his city. Scott Lang, the former mayor of the Whaling City, also opposes the expansion. The elected members of the New Bedford School Committee recently voted to oppose the expansion, too.

On Thursday night, the New Bedford City Council members will have the opportunity to express their opinion on the expansion of charter school seats. The resolution was authored by Ward Three City Councilor Hugh Dunn, an attorney and a former Congressional staff member. The goal of the resolution is to create a united front of local elected officials in opposition to another unfunded state mandate.

Mayor Mitchell has repeatedly pointed out the mathematics of the city budget and the expansion of charter schools. If the state imposes an expansion on New Bedford, it will devastate the city's ability to deliver basic services to the taxpayers and residents, according to the Mitchell.

The impact of an expansion of charter schools in New Bedford goes far beyond education. This expanded unfunded mandate will lead to cuts in people--the people who staff the police and fire departments will be on the chopping block. Mayor Mitchell has been diligent in explaining that the cuts can only come from the biggest departments in the City's budget.

The question before the City Council isn't about education. The question is about raising property taxes and laying off City employees.

City Councilor Hugh Dunn's resolution is about creating a united front in New Bedford, with the mayor, the School Committee, and the City Council all united in opposition to the devastation of the city's ability to deliver basic services to the people who elected them.

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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