Manchester charter school busing costs must be paid, state says
MANCHESTER — State education officials say the school district must pay charter school busing costs, forcing the Board of School Committee to reconsider an item in its recently approved budget.
The board late last month approved a spending plan for the $1.52 million allocated to the schools by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for the 2013 school year, while designating another $140,000 to hire and retain teachers.
Of that amount, $82,000 was to come from eliminating funds earmarked for charter school busing.
Superintendent Thomas Brennan told the committee at its meeting Monday that he received a call from a state Department of Education official after the budget vote.
“I was told that the vote was in violation of the law,” he said.
Charter school advocates also spoke against the budget cut Monday.
“I hope you'll reconsider the decision that was made in light of budgetary constraints we're all working under, to provide the best education for all Manchester students,” said Jill Cane, the director of Polaris Charter School, one of two new charter schools slated to open in the fall.
Charter school supporters also call the $82,000 estimate for charter school busing high, since students at the schools would most likely be served by existing routes.
Brennan acknowledged that the figure wasn't precise.
“We did indicate that it was a moving target,” he said.
In order to reverse the elimination of the charter school funding, the Board of School Committee is expected to hold a meeting Wednesday to take a second vote on the budget.
What’s next: The Board of School Committee is expected to hold a meeting on Wednesday to take a second vote on the school budget.
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