Superintendent Giovanna Donoyan's press release today in response to City Council President John Ward's demand of a budget by May 11 cites many structural obstacles that have prevented earlier delivery.
However, both Donoyan and School Committee Vice Chair Vimala Phongsavanh say a budget should be delivered before May 11.
"I think that's enough time," Phongsavanh said.
Donoyan's release was less certain. "I am hopeful that the auditors will be satisfied so that a realistic budget can be delivered by the next school committee meeting on May 9. However, my hands are tied until I receive an accurate budget from our financial experts,” Donoyan wrote.
According to Donoyan's release, Dina Dutremble, who the city hired to sort out school finances, found many financial items that remain unresolved. "That includes missing/inadequate financial documentation, lack of detailed budget items from the past 2 years, and discrepancies in the Uniform Chart of Accounts relative to the expenses for FYs 09, 10, and 11,” Donoyan wrote.
Donoyan continued, “In addition, while I thank the City for hiring Mrs. Dutremble to work and complete financial reports for the City and WED, she has made it clear she is not interested in working on our FY13 budget. The lack of solid financial information from the past makes the job of developing an accurate future budget an inexact science. Moreover it is the School Committee’s hired auditors, B and E Consulting, Inc. that have been tasked with completion of the FY 2013 budget,"
B and E Consulting, Inc., said Phongsavanh, was just hired last week.
Regarding Ward's resolution that the School Committee ask for Donoyan's termination if the budget isn't in by May 11, "I think it's very unfair to ask that she be terminated if she doesn't hand in a budget on time," Phongsavanh said.
Phongsavanh said she was under the impression the school department was being given leeway in light of recent events, including the departure of School Business Manager Stacey Busbee. Ward mentioned Monday that the council had waited in consideration of the school department's difficulties, but couldn't afford further delays.
Phongsavanh said Donoyan is doing three people's work. "She's working very hard, I can guarantee that," she said. Also, she said, "I really do understand the concern of wanting to get a budget in."
She noted School Committee members want a budget for the schools, too. Phongsavanh said she will support the call School Committee Chair Anita Forcier-McGuire said the board will make on Thursday for a budget to be delivered May 11. She said she is not among those who have lost patience with the superintendent.