Here we are eleven years later, and what do we have in today's paper but a headline reading "Augustus pitches $685.7M Worcester budget including $19.8M hike for schools" and the following:
While much of that increase is fueled by a $17.6 million increase in state aid for education, the city has also increased its contribution for education by $3.6 million, Mr. Augustus said.The $19.8M increase in school funding IS EXACTLY WHAT IS LEGALLY REQUIRED. The City Manager CANNOT do anything with the $17.6M increase in Chapter 70 aid, save precisely what he is doing: passing it along to the schools. Along with that comes a required increase in local aid which is $3.6M, PRECISELY WHAT HE IS RECOMMENDING.
In formally unveiling his budget recommendation Tuesday night, the manager told the City Council that an $11 million increase to the school budget was needed to provide level services. But what the manager has recommended goes $8.8 million beyond that.
No, one does not get credit for going beyond a level services budget, because a level services budget is not what the system is predicated on.
Nor does one get praise for doing LITERALLY THE MINIMUM LEGALLY REQUIRED in increasing city funding.
I was asked earlier today for charts; let me give you one that demonstrate how Worcester is doing remarkably little for the schools. At a time when the whole of Massachusetts educational policy is in agreement that the “adequate” amount of the foundation budget simply isn’t, many other cities are straining to do more.
Worcester (down on the right), for over a decade, does not.