Quincy School Breakdown, FY2023 Police Budgets
QUINCY – Superintendent Kevin Mulvey said small class sizes and the social and emotional well-being of students were top priorities in drafting the school’s budget for the next fiscal year, which will help tackle issues of personnel that Quincy and districts across the country have faced since the onset of the COVID pandemic.
Quincy city councilors on Monday approved a $126.4 million budget for education for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The board also approved FY23 budgets for the police department, veterans services, inspection services, council on aging, and traffic division.
The school department is the single largest budget expense in Quincy’s budget each year. Of the total education budget proposed for FY23, $120.8 million would come from the big city budget and $5.6 million from the state. The city council funds the Department of Education’s bottom line, but the Quincy school board decides how to spend the money.
The education budget for fiscal year 2023 represents an increase of $9.1 million, or 7.8 percent, over last year. Jim Mullaney, the schools’ business affairs director, said the proposed budget was $4.2 million more than the district would need to maintain level services.
Mullaney said the district is looking to hire 10 college teachers for the upcoming school year — six at North Quincy, two at Parker School and two at South West Middle School. Six of these positions would be funded by moving existing money and four would be completely new.
The budget also includes new positions in special education, English language learning, art, career education and physical education, as well as an adjustment counselor for Southwest Middle School, five vice principals, one college paraprofessional, and five special education paraprofessionals.
Mullaney said the district expects 24 people to retire this year, an increase from the typical number of 12 to 18.
“Last year it was even bigger, the number of retirees, furloughs and resignations,” he said. “The big resignation has certainly affected schools as well…We look forward to filling all of these positions and more.”
Superintendent Kevin Mulvey said Quincy’s class sizes are “the envy of the South Shore,” and added that the district is in the final stages of hiring a diversity coordinator, equity and inclusion. This position will be publicly funded for the first three years.
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Police Chief Paul Keenan presented a police budget of $34.6 million which he called “very reasonable”. The increase over last year – about $1.3 million – will pay for the department’s contractual obligations, five new patrol officers and several dispatch positions, the first new dispatchers hired in the past 20 to 25 years.
Keenan said the dispatch center is “at breaking point” with the increase in calls over the past two decades. The budget also includes small increases for court, training and police academy positions.
“It was difficult for about two years, but we rose to the challenge and provided all the services provided to the citizens of Quincy without interruption,” Keenan said.
Department of Natural Resources budgets were criticized by councillors, who approved a $16.4 cemetery expansion after debate and cuts eearlier this month. The department includes the proposed $1.16 million for cemeteries, $4.4 million for parks; and $979,000 for recreation.
The city took over operation of the Furnace Brook golf course this year and David Murphy, head of the Department of Natural Resources, said he expects the city to have earned $200,000 from the course. here at the end of June. The parks budget includes $229,000 for golf course maintenance and approximately $292,000 for labour.
“We expect a surplus in 2023, which should more than offset the demand for appropriations associated with the Furnace Brook golf course in this budget,” he said. “We really wasted no time leveraging this as a community asset.”
Murphy requested a $57,500 increase in the overtime line item in the cemetery budget to compensate for Saturday and Sunday burials at local cemeteries, but said the cost was largely made up of additional burial costs weekends that go into the city’s general fund.
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Councilwoman-at-large Nina Liang asked why this money was not accounted for in the cemetery budget and made a similar point about income from the Furnace Brook golf course.
General Councilwoman Anne Mahoney asked to reduce a $30,000 claim to replace trash cans at Mount Wollaston Cemetery, and said it should come from the city’s COVID relief grant. The mayor has complete discretion over how federal COVID money is spent. The cut motion failed by a 3-3 vote.
The cemetery and recreation budgets were passed on Monday, but councilors asked Murphy to return to discuss the golf portion of the parks budget further.
“I think it would be great if we could have a presentation from you showing us what your expectations are for the golf course and how we plan to move forward as a city,” Mahoney said.
City councilors approved a budget of $4.5 million for information technology; $1.7 for veterans services; $2 million for inspection services, including a new building inspector; $872,571 for advice on aging; and $3.2 million for traffic, parking, alarms and lighting services.
City councilors will continue to discuss the budget at a finance committee meeting at 6.30pm on Wednesday. They will hear from the library, health department, city clerk, public works, public buildings, city council, parks department and the mayor’s office.
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Contact Mary Whitfill at firstname.lastname@example.org.