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Western Mass. Public School Budgets Impacted By COVID-19

Westfield High School.
File Photo
The Republican / masslive.com/photos
Westfield High School.

Just a few months ago, Massachusetts communities were anticipating new money for public schools because of the state education act signed into law last year. But the financial picture has changed significantly because of COVID-19.

Westfield Mayor Don Humason said with tax revenues down, his city decided to use municipal funds to limit cuts to the schools.

The city still plans to cut $1.5 million from the roughly $60 million budget. Humason said he's assuming state aid to Westfield drops 10%.

“If that turns out to be better than expected, we’ll be in good shape," he said. "If it turns out to be worse than expected, we’ll have to go back to the budget and look for places to save.”

Jake McCandless, the superintendent of Pittsfield, said he's had to make some tough decisions.

“We have issued 24 layoff notices to paraprofessionals," he said. "We are issuing non-renewal notices to probably upwards of 30 teachers.”

McCandless said most of those jobs could be restored if enough state aid comes through. 

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.
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