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Monday, July 10, 2006

Found money

NEWTON

What would you do if you found half a million dollars under the couch cushions?

Newton Mayor David Cohen said this afternoon that the city would put 70 percent of the city's unexpected $500,000 state aid windfall into the upcoming year's school budget.

Newton's schools are facing another year of cuts in staff and programs because the 3 percent to 4 percent budget increases of the past few years have not kept pace with soaring energy, healthcare, and special education costs, city officials say. Cohen said it would be up the the School Committee and Superintendent of Schools Jeffrey Young to decide what to do with $350,000.

"The quality of Newton's schools is a source of pride for all of us," Cohen said at a 1:30 p.m. press conference in Newton Highlands.

Cohen said that another $80,000 of the aid boost would be put into the city's energy reserve fund, to help defray future hikes in the cost of gasoline, natural gas, heating oil and electricity.

The remaining money will go to restore a $70,000 cut to the Public Buildings Department, Cohen said, which was made this spring to help balance the city budget.

-- Ralph Ranalli

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