December 6, 2011

Ouch - Woonsocket School Dept Goes From Small Surplus To $2.7 Million Deficit Almost Overnight

Monique Chartier

The Woonsocket Patch reports.

After months of reporting a small surplus, the Woonsocket Education Department ended the 2010-2011 year with a $2.7 million deficit, according to the draft operating results sent to Finance Director Thomas Bruce on Monday by auditors from Braver PC. ...

"As recent[ly] as a meeting with the superintendent of schools and the Business Manager Stacey Busby, two weeks ago with the mayor, a surplus was assured," said Bruce. "On September 15th, we received in writing an indication that the school department surplus was $68,737.

What happened since September (other than an election - I am trying really, really hard not to be suspicious) to so drastically change the department's budget will now be a subject of keen interest, presumably starting at the School Committee work session this Thursday. The stakes are pretty high.

Bruce said city officials should also be aware of the possibility that DOR Director Rosemary Booth Gallogly could appoint a financial overseer, as she recently did in East Providence.

"I would not be surprised if that happened right away in Woonsocket. What it would mean for the city is lack of local control over expenditures, contracts...most importantly we could lose local control over setting the tax rate in July."

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For the private sector, it is called fraud. For the public sector, it is simply called government accounting.

Posted by: Dan at December 6, 2011 12:58 PM

Sorry Flanders, no vacation for you this year or next.

Posted by: bob at December 6, 2011 1:58 PM

If there's no muni pension reform soon the Dept. Of Administration should send out a memo to the towns with directions to the Bankruptcy Court.
Sleep tight union pigs-A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall.
Funny how the noxious, once ubiquitous Pat Crowley has literally VAPORIZED since the pension debacle.
Oh well. {snip}

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at December 7, 2011 7:44 AM

The school Department has blatantly ignored their operating budget, who is responsible? This person needs to be fired.
And you Mr. Fontaine, where were you while this was taking place? This is your job to oversee these people that's why you ARE the mayor.
I believe we need a taxpayer strike in this city by the property owners who pay taxes.
Who is going to pay for this additional $2.7 million? Will it be deducted from next year's school budget?
If there is a tax increase in the 2012 budget... I will not pay the increase! I will only pay at the level of 2011 and hopefully I can get other taxpayers in the city to join me in this effort to combat out-of-control spending from this damned Department of Education!

Posted by: HAROLD RYAN at December 8, 2011 4:50 AM
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