$168M stimulus aids schools; Proposal gives Worcester $14 million.


Byline: Jacqueline Reis

WORCESTER - This city's schools were big winners yesterday as Gov. Deval Patrick unveiled a budget proposal that would send more than $14 million in federal stimulus money to Worcester Public Schools as part of $168 million in education spending for 166 districts statewide.

The money would bring all of the state's communities up to minimum funding levels.

Worcester, in part because its enrollment grew this year for the first time in about seven years, stands to gain the most.

Other Central Massachusetts districts that would gain significantly include Marlboro, Milford and Leominster.

The proposal was good news, but local officials were a bit cautious, noting that it still needs the state Legislature's approval.

Worcester public schools' Chief Financial Officer Brian E. Allen thanked the governor and Lt. Gov. Timothy P. Murray of Worcester and said that as of last night, the district was not taking any steps to lay off teachers.

Proposals such as the governor's are the reason the district waited to hear about federal stimulus spending before releasing any budgets, he added.

Interim Superintendent Deirdre J. Loughlin added through Mr. Allen that she still plans to look at administrative reform to reallocate more existing dollars into classrooms.

Mayor Konstantina B. Lukes, chairwoman of the School Committee, said, "We cannot squander a legitimate crisis" and the chance to look at reform.

"The pronouncements we've gotten on money are all moving targets," Ms. Lukes said...

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