[These notes were taken by Paula Wooley last night, who mentioned to me that she did not have a pen with her, so they are from memory.]
There was some good news tonight for school custodians, at the city budget hearing at City Hall. It was announced that the mayor and the custodians’ union is in negotiations, and so it’s possible that the layoff of 49 custodians and outsourcing of their jobs may be avoided.
Numerous speakers spoke on behalf of the school custodians, as well as on behalf of the cuts to the library staff. A few speakers also mentioned the Recreation Dept. staff cuts as well, and the 311 staff spoke on their own behalf.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
1. One speaker said it’s important for people to call Senator Scott Brown to ask him to vote to extend FMAP, higher reimbursement rates for Medicaid, that our state budget relies on. (see below)
(From State Senator Pat Jehlen:
“Our budget still relies on over $1.6 billion in emergency federal assistance to
achieve balance. This includes $687.8 million in federal support that we hope
Congress will approve next week, extending the higher reimbursement rates for
Medicaid (called FMAP) that were authorized by the federal stimulus law.
Unfortunately, the extension’s passage is uncertain. Sen. Brown is reportedly
undecided, and hoping to hear from constituents. I asked the Republican
senators at Tuesday’s session to join in asking Sen. Brown to support this
funding. They did not answer, despite other senators repeating the question.
“If the FMAP extension does not happen, we will have to cut about $800 million
from our already strained budget — the cuts will be more than $688m because
when we cut Medicaid (which is unavoidable at that level of cuts) we lose
2. To help the libraries: Parents can help the libraries, in particular, by joining or contributing to the Friends of the Somerville Libraries. They are always in need of volunteers to help run the annual Book Sales. For more information, see http://www.somervillepubliclibrary.org/aboutus/friends.html
or contact them at email@example.com
3. The board of Aldermen will still take public comments for another 48 hours (?), so please still email or call them in support of not privatizing school custodians; also please voice your support of the superintendent’s budget for the schools (identify yourself as a parent of kids in the school system, and give your address). In addition, any support of the children’s librarian at the West branch would be appreciated.