Westfield School District facing nearly $700K in additional cuts - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Westfield School District facing nearly $700K in additional cuts

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WESTFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

Westfield Mayor Dan Knapik told CBS 3 he felt the City Council is being "reckless," calling for him to trim $1.5 million off his proposed budget.

Now the Westfield School District is facing the possibility of some tough cuts.

The superintendent tells CBS 3 that she and her administration had to have an emergency meeting Monday morning.

"It's just a tough time to find out that you need to scramble and you need to find $700,000 in a budget that's already been decimated," said Superintendent Dr. Suzanne Scallion.

Scallion and her administration are facing some tough financial times, as now they have to cut nearly hundreds of thousands more from their budget.

"We've already made some significant cuts and we found out last Thursday that the City Council finance subcommittee was suggesting an additional cut of nearly $700,000."

The district has already laid off some teachers to close the existing $535,000 gap, but learned Thursday night they need to cut an additional $700,000.

More layoffs are not an option at this point. But Scallion predicts they may have to cut books, after school busing for their neediest students and potentially make some cuts to the athletic program.

Knapik says this is a major blow to the school district's recent progress.

"The biggest thing is the budget I prepared, it allows us to continuing moving the school department forward, we've had great results to date on some of the initiatives we've started. This proposal by the City Council really steps back in time, we don't want to go there."

Dozens of teachers concerned about the cuts showed up at a school committee meeting Monday night. Sixth grade English teacher and president of the Westfield Educational Association, Lorie Hovey, is relieved but says any cut is painful for the schools.

"Every time we have cuts, the impact is, bottom line, on the students. They're on the kids and the classroom," she said.

The district will have to present their final plans for cuts Wednesday night.

"I don't have any magic answers at this point. I'm deeply concerned for our staff, for our students," Scallion said.

CBS 3 reached out to the Westfield City Council president as well as the head of the financial subcommittee via email and telephone calls, but so far those messages have gone unreturned.

The City Council will vote on the budget on Thursday night.

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