To the Editor
The Cohasset Public Schools experienced over $250,000 in budget cuts this year because the Town simply didn’t have the revenue to support the schools at previous levels. It’s not an easy task to cut that amount from a budget that is already tight and being supplemented by fees, and in the case of kindergarten, tuition.
Now 6 months later the Town finds itself with $1.2million in free cash and an additional $600,000 in State Aid, much of it aid to education. That’s $1.8 million in revenue that was not budgeted for operating expenses. So the town restores the $250,000 to the school budget and looks at pressing capital needs, or one would expect. But it doesn’t. Instead, the chair of the School Committee spearheads a petition drive to call a Town Meeting and put virtually all of the money away for a “rainy day”. The only money that was added to the budget was put into the DPW for road repairs. I still cannot understand why the School Dept, didn’t ask that the $250,000 be put back into their budget. Obviously the town can now well afford to do so.
Additional state aid to education should be used for education. There is no guarantee that any of the money that was put away will be used for the schools, and now the school budget is fixed at a much lower level than it should be. There were no good answers to the many questions raised at town meeting about why this new revenue wasn’t going to the schools in accordance with adopted financial policies.
Cohasset has always recognized the full funding of its schools as a priority. In lean times, both town and schools shared the pain. But when the town is experiencing robust new revenue, the schools should be at the top of the recipient list. It’s wise to save for a rainy day, but it’s equally wise to fund a topnotch school district. I’m disappointed and frankly baffled by these actions. I’m still hoping that some light will be shed on this.
89 Doane Street