Saturday, 2:15 PM
$10M infusion from city to avert school closings
By Tracy Jan, Globe Staff
Averting imminent school closures and deep classroom cuts, Boston will bail out the cash-strapped school system with a one-time appropriation of $10 million, helping the city schools close a $30.7 million budget shortfall.
The last-minute infusion comes just in time for tonight’s school committee meeting, when the committee is expected to pass its $827.5 million school budget for the 2008-09 school year.
“The support comes at a critical time when we’re accelerating our efforts to reduce the achievement gap,” Superintendent Carol Johnson said in a phone interview today. “We’ve worked really hard to stay as far away from the classroom as possible, but there will be some impact.”
Until Johnson and Mayor Thomas M. Menino revealed the plan today, school officials had said that numerous programs and classroom positions were in jeopardy.
The extra money is coming from city reserves that finance officials typically are hesitant to tap to cover operating costs. But Menino said it was important that Johnson, who took over as superintendent just six months ago, be able to move forward on her agenda to boost the achievement of the most academically challenged students.
“It was a very difficult choice to have to use one-time revenue, but it’s Boston, and we have to make sure our schools work,” Menino said. “Classroom instruction remains our top priority, and we cannot retreat on progress.”
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