, Newburyport, MA

January 17, 2014

Bond rating vs. school education

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

Mayor Holaday’s inauguration speech was informative, and her last topic was education. She quoted Mayor George Jackman’s statement that “the wealth of the city is not in its money or acres but in its children.” Our school department has been underfunded for the past seven years. According to The Daily News, Superintendent Viccaro “likened the current situation to ‘The Perfect Storm,’ adding that the Newburyport school budget has been underfunded for too many years, ranking number 292 on a list of more than 300 Cities.”

Newburyport has $2,241,951 in free cash that is not generating one cent of interest. We also have $2,942,613 in our Stabilization Fund, which is the fourth highest in Essex County. Some of this money could benefit the school budget.

We also have neglected to operate our own ambulance service that could be generating approximately $800,000 a year. Two hundred fifty-seven other Massachusetts cities are operating this lucrative fire department-based emergency medical service. The Amesbury emergency medical service, which is operated by the fire department, has generated over $5.5 million in nine years.

George Roaf