PROVIDENCE, R.I. — School officials seeking a budget increase for next year say the department does not have the money to cover contracts for principals, teachers and other school staff, after saying last year that the contracts were affordable.
The City Council, already faced with huge deficits in the city budget, wants the School Department to reopen the contracts or find another way to cover the pay raises.
The department, which accounts for more than half of proposed city spending next year, submitted to the council a $329-million budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 that calls for a 5-percent increase in spending, but projects a $17-million shortfall.
City Councilman John J. Igliozzi, who chairs the council’s finance committee, says he is frustrated that school officials testified that the department could afford the raises at public hearings last year.
“This is a recurring theme in this department, and it is getting really, really old,” Igliozzi said during a meeting last week attended by School Supt. Thomas Brady and other school officials. “If you don’t have the money, then you don’t sign the contract.”
School Finance Officer Matthew Clarkin, who spoke on behalf of the district at the meeting, said he could not explain what financial assumptions were made when the contracts were approved by the council last year.
That's Thomas Brady, Broad Academy 2004. Perhaps Sharon Contreras, Providence Chief Academic Officer and member of the Broad Academy Class of 2010, could do a paper and a powerpoint on this fiasco for her final project.