Superintendent Giovanna Donoyan's failure to draft a budget has exhausted the patience of the School Committee and the City Council, and may bring state intervention closer for the city.
"Very much," Mayor Leo Fontaine said when asked if the situation makes the intervention of Rosemary Gallogly, the state's director of revenue, more likely. On Thursday, the state-appointed receiver of Central Falls, Robert Flanders, noted the decision to intervene in a city's finances rests with Gallogly. Two big criteria the state considers before intervening in a city's management, Flanders said, are a drop in its bond rating, and an inability to balance its budget.
"The superintendent, even up until Saturday, has indicated that she will not be planning to develop the budget until the School Committee makes a decision and gives her a direction as to which of the three options they want her to move in," City Council President John Ward said. The school department budget was due March 1, more than 60 days ago, he said.
Members of the School Committee were not at the meeting to discuss the situation, Ward said, because they were still at Donoyan's presentation of her options to parents at the Hamlet Middle School. (See the attached presentation.)
Members of the School Committee also expressed frustration with the superintendent, Ward said, and they have scheduled a Thursday session to instruct Donoyan to draft a budget. Ward said he had drafted his own resolution urging the School Committee to instruct Donoyan to draft the budget.
"Should the superintendent fail to comply with the order of the School Committee, the City Council demands that termination proceedings against the superintendent be immediately undertaken," he recited from his resolution.
Ward said the General Assembly is asking the city for their budget plan, and they can't provide one without the school department's budget, which ties up figuring out how much state aid the city will receive.
Also, "Quite frankly, without a school budget, I don't know how much time Rosemary Gallogly is going to give us," Ward said.
"The only people with authority over her (Donoyan) at the moment are the School Committee," Ward said. As if on cue, School Committee Chairwoman Anita McGuire-Forcier entered the room moments later. Ward explained they had just been speaking about Donoyan's refusal to present a budget for the school department.
"I know you needed the budget," McGuire-Forcier said.
"Two weeks ago," Ward replied.
"When's the latest possible date?" McGuirie-Forcier asked.
"May first," Ward said.
Forcier asked for a little more time, and Ward relented, saying the council could wait until May 11. "With the data available, it can't be that hard," Ward said.
After the meeting, Maguire-Forcier confirmed she and other School Committee members were out of patience with Donoyan, and would demand a budget from her on Thursday.