THE SCHOOL REFORM Commission last night adopted a five-year financial plan that maintains the status quo, but signaled its intention to push a more-ambitious agenda that would require significant investments from the city and state.
The adopted plan shows a projected $30 million budget gap for the fiscal year that starts July 1, compared to a $216 million anticipated shortfall last year. The spending plan reflects a continued rise in pension costs and charter-school payments, but also assumes that health-care benefits imposed on the teachers' union will be upheld - something that Commonwealth Court has yet to decide.
"While on paper [the gap] looks smaller, it's smaller because we've had to make decisions that impact the lives of children in our city," Chief Financial Officer Matt Stanski told reporters.
In contrast, the district's "transformational" five-year plan would require an extra $309 million next year, which would be directed to schools for additional classroom and after-school resources, Stanski said.
The district hopes that some of that money will come from a new statewide fair-funding formula and an adjustment in the special-education allotment for charter schools.