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Vol. 20, No. 11
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“We are lucky because …”
Children and a few adults get to count their St. Patrick’s Day
blessings in a creative way at Saugus Public Library
By Mark E. Vogler
M
ia DeAngelo said she has
a lot to feel lucky about
as she looked forward to St.
Patrick’s Day. “I love my family,
my friends, my home and my
birthday – it’s the day before
St. Patrick’s Day,”said Mia, who
turned 8 yesterday.
Mia, a second grader at the
Our LadyofAssumptionSchool,
said she loved her grandmoth-
er and“Miss Amy,” too, referring
to Amy Melton, the children’s li-
brarian at the Saugus Public Li-
brary. Melton made it possible
for Mia and other children visit-
ing the library this month to be
creative while counting their St.
Patrick’sDayblessingsonsham-
rocks cut out of green construc-
tion paper. Children were en-
couraged to finish the sentence
“We are lucky because …” and
write itontheir shamrock,which
was displayed on a wall board
in the children’s section of the
library or given to the child to
take home.
Mia needed two paper sham-
rocks toexplainwhy she is lucky.
She used one of them exclu-
sively for her grandmother. “I’m
lucky because I have a grand-
mother who showed me this li-
ST. PATRICK’S DAY BLESSINGS: Mia DeAngelo, 8, and Sheri Habib, 5, got to explain why
they are lucky on paper shamrocks they displayed on a wall at the Saugus Public Library.
(Saugus Advocate Photo by Mark E. Vogler)
“It’s not sustainable”
Finance Committee Chairman offers a
pessimistic view on Superintendent’s
proposed School Department budget
By Mark E. Vogler
S
uperintendent of Schools
Dr.DavidDeRuosi, Jr.would
needaProposition2½override
to get the funds he’s seeking to
run Saugus Public Schools, ac-
cording to Finance Commit-
tee Chairman Kenneth DePat-
to. “That’s a level of growth that
I don’t see as sustainable,” De-
Patto told DeRuosi at Wednes-
day night’s Finance Commit-
tee meeting during a prelimi-
nary review of the School De-
partment’s proposed operat-
ing budget for the 2018 fiscal
year that begins July 1. “I don’t
see how we can come up with
these numbers,”DePatto said.
DeRuosi’s$29.6millionspend-
ing plan is about $1.2 million
more than what Town Manag-
er Scott C. Crabtree provided
in the preliminary town oper-
ating budget approved by se-
lectmen last month. But DePat-
to noted the projected increase
couldsurpass$2millionwithad-
ditional costs.
“There’s only somuchmoney
that comes into this town,” De-
Pattosaid.“Theonlyway todo it,”
he added, would be to increase
revenueand“go for anoverride.”
Accompanied by all five
School Committee members
and his key administrative staff
– including the School Depart-
ment’s executive director of Fi-
nance and Administration, Pola
Andrews – DeRuosi spent close
to two hours briefing the Fi-
nanceCommitteemembersand
answering their questions.
The Finance Committee is in
the early stages of its review of
town department budget re-
quests, which began last week.
Sometimenextmonth, thecom-
mitteewillmakearecommenda-
tiontotheAnnualTownMeeting,
whichisset toconveneonMay1.
Schoolofficialscanmakeanar-
gument toTownMeetingmem-
bers for more funding. But a Fi-
nanceCommitteerecommenda-
tion usually carries considerable
weight during the proceedings
of the50-member body thatwill
vote on what the town spends
during the next fiscal year.
Crabtree has recommend-
ed a $300,000 increase in the
SchoolDepartment’scurrentop-
erating budget. A year ago, the
School Department requested
a $1 million increase in its bud-
get. Crabtree’s proposed spend-
ingplanrecommended$400,000
more. The School Department
wound up getting an additional
$100,000 togethalf ofwhat it re-
questedfor itsoperatingbudget.
The School Committee’s Fi-
nanceSubcommitteehas initiat-
eda strategy inhopesof getting
additional funds. The subcom-
mittee asked DeRuosi to devel-
op three different budget sce-
narios, showingwhat the impact
would be if the School Depart-
ment received the $300,000 in-
crease recommended by Crab-
tree, a $400,000 increase and a
$500,000 increase.
“Really nice
presentation”
While DeRuosi didn’t receive
a favorable reviewof thewhop-
ping increasehe’s seeking in the
School Department’s operating
budget, he did receive praise
from several Finance Commit-
tee members on his detailed
presentation. “Really nice pre-
sentation…Youdidagreat job,”
DePatto said.
The superintendent includ-
ed a printed version of a Pow-
erPoint presentation, similar to
what he provided the School
Committee earlier this year. Us-
ing statistical charts, DeRuosi
pinpointed the major “cost cen-
ters” of the School Department
budget and focused on trends
to explain why the School De-
partment budget has been in-
creasing despite the declining
enrollment from October 2012
through last October – from
2,850 students down to 2,603
students. “I’ve been gone five
years, so I decided to go back
five years,”DeRuosi said.
DeRuosi noted that about $6
million of the budget is related
to special needs students. “We
couldbe spending up to $5,000
a month for one child,”he said.
Transportation costs for spe-
cial needs students enrolled in
out-of-district programs can be
particularlyexpensive. Costscan
balloon if special needs students
are switched from a day pro-
gram to a residential program.
DeRuosi referredtoa$514,000
LUCKY
| SEE PAGE 6
BUDGET
| SEE PAGE 2
Have a Happy & Safe St. Patrick’s Day