But school officials have been asking the city's administration for an extra
"Our goal this year is to preserve what we had," said
"We're not really level-service funded," he said. "We're going to freeze the budget the day after it's passed."
Pope said that costs for special needs students now constitute about 28 percent of the school district budget, and noted a rising rate in the number of youths who are diagnosed to be on the autism spectrum.
"The point is we have depleted all of our reserves for special needs in order to not have any cuts," he said.
Pope noted all city departments need money, but the city is required by law to provide education for all students.
"And ultimately, if we don't have the money, they don't come looking for us, they come looking for you guys," Pope said addressing the
Donovan's letter asked the
"We're here on behalf of our kids," Clancy added.
After some prodding by acting
Another scenario for special needs costs, Pope said, is that there are children who are essentially wards of the state, but their parents' last known address is in
Pope noted the state does pay back money to partially offset those costs, but that state money is subject to funding. The so called "circuit breaker" money funds up to 75 percent of some special education costs after an initial
He said "the big killer" is that state aid doesn't include transportation to for special needs students. The district spent roughly
Some students basically travel by taxi cab for a couple hundred dollars a day, Pope said.
The lease for the
"Who's paying that first year, is that coming out of city, or is that coming out of schools?"
The first year of the lease costs
"It doesn't seem it should be in our budget," Pope said.
The end result? It's still up for discussion, Pope said, smiling and patting Acting Mayor
"It is under serious discussion," McGeary said.
Grow's letter urged the
Budget talks will continue during a Council Budget and Finance Subcommittee meeting at
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