The following was posted by Ward 5 School Committee member Mark Niedergang to the list of the Progressive Democrats of Somerville (PDS) on Apr 24th.
How do you think Somerville should respond to the budget cuts?
Dear friends at PDS,
The Board of Aldermen and School Committee together will be holding a public forum on the FY 2010 budget this Tuesday, April 28th, at 7 PM in the Aldermen’s Chambers in City Hall.
This is an opportunity to get an update from the Mayor and the Superintendent of Schools on the City and School budgets for next year and to share your concerns, ideas, and suggestions about priorities and ways to make the FY 2010 budget stretch further.
At this time it looks like the City of Somerville will face a budgetary shortfall of somewhere between $8.6 and $12 million dollars next year, unless something changes in terms of the amount of state aid that the City gets. (The City budget this year is about $165 million.) Cuts of this magnitude will be extremely painful and are likely to include layoffs and cutbacks in programs. These cuts are likely to be felt in all municipal services and programs, including the public schools.
The Board of Aldermen and School Committee are interested in hearing your thoughts about priorities and any ideas or suggestions you may have for creative ways to save money or improve services.
As far as I know, this type of forum is unprecedented in Somerville — but the challenge that the City faces with next year’s budget are extraordinary. I hope you will attend to both learn about the difficult times to come and contribute your concerns and ideas to building the best budget we can for the City.
You can find more information about Tuesday’s budget forum and the current situation in the news release below my signature.
Please contact me with questions, concerns or ideas.
Vice Chair and Chair of the Finance and Facilities Subcommittee
Ward 5 Representative
Somerville School Committee
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 21, 2009
ALDERMAN HEUSTON ANNOUNCES FINANCE COMMITTEE, SCHOOL COMMITTEE TO SPONSOR APRIL 28TH PUBLIC FORUM ON FY2010 BUDGET
SOMERVILLE – Ward 2 Alderman Maryann Heuston, Chair of the Board of Aldermen (BOA) Finance Committee, announced today that her committee, working with the School Committee, has scheduled a public forum on special municipal budget issues in Fiscal Year 2010. The forum will be held on April 28th at 7pm in the BOA Chambers at City Hall, 93 Highland Avenue. Chairman Heuston and Ward 5 School Committee Member Mark Niedergang, Chair of the School Committee’s Finance and Facilities Committee, have invited all interested residents to attend the forum in order to learn about the budget process and about the challenges faced by the city at a time of sharply decreased state aid which, after a $3 million cut this year, faces cuts of nearly $11 million FY2010 – a reduction of nearly 24 percent. The forum is designed to provide an opportunity for residents to share their priorities, ideas and concerns as difficult decisions are made.
“We want to share the latest information we have about the challenges faced by the City administration, the Board of Aldermen, and the School Committee as well as solicit new ideas, recommendations, advice, and suggestions from the public,” said Alderman Heuston. “We face unprecedented challenges in building the FY2010 budget. Because of the due diligence performed by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen over the last several years, Somerville is in better shape than many other municipalities across the Commonwealth. However, we still face the reality of multimillion dollar cuts in local state aid that will have to be addressed in the FY2010 budget. We must come together as a community to address these challenges head-on.”
“I want to thank Alderman Heuston for inviting the School Committee to co-sponsor this community budget forum,” said School Committee Member Niedergang. “The entire School Committee looks forward to working collaboratively with the Board of Aldermen and the Mayor to address the challenges posed by the cuts in local state aid. Together, we will do all we can to build a FY 2010 budget that preserves core services for the residents of Somerville and that continues to improve the quality of our public schools.”
For more information please contact Alderman Heuston (mheuston(at)hotmail.com or at (617) 293-5517) or School Committee Member Niedergang (mniedergang(at)k12.somerville.ma.us or at (617) 629-8033.)