The Everett Public Schools will not have to lay off of 110 teachers and staff members after the City Council authorized $5 million in additional funding.
By a unanimous vote on Feb. 19, the council agreed to Mayor Carlo DeMaria’s request to transfer the funding from the city’s stabilization account.
Parents and students had packed a Feb. 5 School Committee meeting to protest the potential budget cuts and layoffs.
School officials had asked the city for $7 million to help cover a projected $9 million budget shortfall, warning that layoffs would be needed if the deficit was not addressed. Although the council appropriation fell short of the funding request, School Superintendent Frederick Foresteire confirmed that it was enough to avoid the layoffs.
The remainder of the projected shortfall will be covered by $1.5 million in revolving funds and spending cuts, Foresteire said.
In a statement, DeMaria said he proposed the transfer because he was “deeply concerned about the impacts of teacher layoffs on the educational experience of and outcomes for our students, and about the financial hardships that would be personally borne by our teachers.”
The mayor said, however, he was troubled by the shortfall. “We expect them to live within their budget and if unforeseen needs arise, to come back through the appropriations process, like other departments must do,” he said of the school department.
Foresteire said the deficit was caused by unexpected expenses that included reductions in state funding, building construction costs, and an influx of 25 special education students who required out-of-district placements. He contended that much of the shortfall could have been avoided through funding the city owed or promised the schools.
DeMaria announced three additional steps in response to the school budget shortfall: creating a task force on Everett’s municipal and school finances; hiring of an outside firm to audit the school’s finances; and forming an internal School Finance Review Commission.Globe correspondent John Laidler can be reached at email@example.com.