Joint Session

I have a question about how the local government spends our money. [Many questions-but I'll only discuss one at a time.]
I understand that we, as citizens and voters, elect both a School Committee and a City Council.
The City Council is controlled by Charter, code and state law. They have the responsibility to oversee all spending in the City (budgetary authority).
The School Committee is controlled by State law. They administer the Methuen School system.
My question is, why do these two groups never, or very rarely, meet?

It appears that once a year, the School Committee has the Superintendant get before the City council and explain the school spending.
Wouldn’t it make more sense that the School Committee appear in Joint session each quarter with the City Council and discuss openly the current fiscal state of the system?
These sessions could have a public participation segment, where the voters (payees) could question the joint committees.

I am loath to recommend a workshop session, as this would not allow any public comment.
This would seem to make more sense in that the Council would be better apprised of the spending requirements of the schools.
You can substitute the Greater lawrence School Committee for the Methuen School Committee if you like. The concept is the same.
Instead of one contact at the fiscal Year end, which, lately , has led to multiple requests for explanations and delays in adoption of the Budget, these joint sessions, should allow more sharing of information on an on-going basis.

As money gets tighter and tighter, anything that allows our elected officials to see the bigger picture on a regular basis can’t have any worse impact than the current system.

admin posted at 2009-10-7 Category: City Council, School

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