What Will Happen to New Bedford’s Budget Now? [OPINION]
Now that the charter school plan has collapsed—or perhaps gone accordingly to plan—the city is going to have to deal with the financial fallout.
City government, like everything else, costs money. Where will the city get the money to deal with the opening of a new charter school? The answer will come from a blend of existing money and new money. The answer will be crafted by the mayor and the city council.
Tax increases and the laying off of municipal employees will be the answer. Mayor Mitchell has repeatedly warned the city that layoffs will have to come from the "larger departments" such as police, fire, infrastructure, and education.
The City of New Bedford has been responsible with the budget so there is a cushion in the levy limit. That cushion was for an emergency. Sadly, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is triggering a financial emergency for the city.
We are going to enter a brutal period in the city. Those layoffs are human beings. People with bills and families to support will be out of work. There will be less police on duty. When a tenement catches on fire, there will be fewer firefighters to respond. There will be more kids per classroom in the traditional public schools of the city.
People are going to turn on each other as they fight for their very survival.
All of this because the governor and his education team are committed to charter schools. Alma del Mar isn't the best school in the city and it isn't the worst. It is right in the middle of the pack of all the city schools.
Opening a middle-of-the-road school at the cost of public services and higher taxes doesn't make sense to me.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.