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It appears that the School Department’s $3 million+ budget deficit could wind up in the middle of the spat between Mayor Mitchell and the New Bedford City Council. Last Tuesday, the City Council’s Finance Committee unveiled a plan to close the gap. The School Department would receive a “loan” that must be repaid from its fiscal 2014 budget.
Unfortunately, those of us that are knowledgeable about the School Department’s operations know they can’t sustain a $3 million reduction without its impact being felt in classrooms across the district. While we agree with Councilor Jane Gonsalves and her colleague’s concerns about fiscal management within the School Department and a lack of communication from Mayor Mitchell, we cannot punish New Bedford’s students and teachers. Ask any New Bedford educator about the shortage of textbooks, materials, and technology. Quite frankly, the system has stayed afloat because of the generosity of New Bedford’s teachers who pay for many classroom necessities with their own cash.