DiPierro Seeks Revival of School Finance Review Commission

The City Council unanimously approved a motion by Ward 3 Councilor Anthony DiPierro at its Feb. 12 meeting to re-establish the School Finance Review Commission (SFRC) as a collaborative effort among three segments of city government. The 13-member Commission would consist of representatives from Mayor Carlo DeMario’s Office, the City Council, and the School Committee. “This is not a Commission that I have just created, it’s something that’s been on the books here since 2012,” said DiPierro in introducing his motion. “It [SFRC) hadn’t met for a while. It was picked up in 2018 and it served its purpose.” DiPierro clarified that it was not his intention to “come from a place of oversight (for the Commission).” “It’s more to come from a place of collaboration,” said DiPierro. “I think it only serves us all well if city government, this body in particular, works hand in hand with the School Department. This isn’t just about school financing and budgeting. It’s tasked with reviewing enrollment, School Department-related expenditures to include overcrowding, and the need for new space. I think this is a great opportunity for us to communicate more regularly in regard to the School Department’s needs, rather than only during budget season.” Councilor-at-Large Katy Rogers asked if it were possible “to expand the Commission to include a school space element, because space is an issue in our schools that is so directly related to finances.” “I think that is a great point,” said DiPierro in response to Rogers’ suggestion. “However, I’m just looking to revive this [Commission] at this moment. I’m just asking the Mayor to get together with Council President  [Robert] Van Campen, School Committee Chair [Jeanne] Cristiano, and at least get the appointees together, and those topics can certainly be brought up at the meetings by whoever is appointed.” Ward 4 Councilor Holly Garcia asked how the membership of the Commission would be constituted. Van Campen said it was his belief that he, as council president, would appoint the four members of the City Council to the Commission. “I’m certainly happy to entertain any letters of interest from [Council] members,” said Van Campen.

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