Gov. Charlie Baker
brought a short smile to the face of many when he unveiled an increase in
education funding in his State Budget proposal two weeks ago, but this week
Supt. Mary Bourque said the proposal needs to go further for cities like
“Although a step in the
right direction for public education and in particular gateway cities, the
Governor’s FY20 budget does not go nearly far enough,” she wrote in a letter on
Bourque said the Chelsea
Public Schools are facing another year where they will likely – as it stands
now – have to cut another $2 million from their budget. That falls upon
multiple years of cuts that have weighed cumulatively on the schools and taken
away core services from students.
One of the problems is
that salaries, health insurance and special education costs are rising so
quickly. This year, she said, they are looking at increases in those areas of
Gov. Baker’s budget
proposal steers an increase of $3.2 million to Chelsea over last year, but in
the face of rising costs, that still leaves the schools in the red.
It’s yet another year of
advocacy for the schools to fix the Foundation Formula – an exercise that has
seemingly played out without any success for at least five years.
“Once again we are facing
another year of painful budget cuts because the foundation formula used to
calculate aid to our schools is broken,” she wrote. “The formula from 1993 has
not kept up with inflation, changing demographics or increased student
needs. I am however, encouraged this year that all leaders at the State
level have acknowledged that the formula is broken, including for the first
time the Governor.”
Bourque also spelled out
the complex nature of the Chelsea Schools, including numerous factors that are
contributing to the reduction in funding.
One of the most startling
situations is that there are fewer kids, and with education funding based on
numbers of kids, that translates to even less money for the schools.
Bourque said this year
they have begun to identify a downward trend in enrollment for the first time
in years. She said fewer kids are coming in from outside the U.S. and families
are leaving Chelsea for areas with lower rents and costs of living.
“In addition to the
foundation formula undercounting critical costs, a significant portion of this
year’s $2 million dollar gap is due to student demographic shifts taking place
in our schools,” she wrote. “We are seeing a downward trend in student
enrollment…This year we have noted fewer students entering our schools from
outside the United States as well as a number of students and families moving
from Chelsea due to the high cost of living in the Boston area.”
The Chelsea Public Schools
under the City Charter have until April 1 to submit their balanced budget.
Bourque said they plan to lobby members of the House of Representatives and the
Senate in the meantime to fix the funding gaps that now exist.
The Massachusetts State 9-1-1 Department is
pleased to announce that Text to 911is now available throughout the
Commonwealth. All Massachusetts 9-1-1 call centers now have ability to receive
a text message through their 9-1-1 system. The Baker-Polito Administration has
supported making these system enhancements since 2015.
Text to 9-1-1 allows those in need of
emergency services to use their cellular device to contact 9-1-1 when they are
unable to place a voice call.
“This is a significant improvement to our 9-1-1 system that will save
lives,” said Public Safety and Security Secretary Tom Turco. “By giving
those requiring emergency services this option we are greatly expanding the
ability of first responders to provide critical assistance to those in
To contact emergency services by text message, simply enter 9-1-1 in the “To”
field of your mobile device and then type your message into the message field.
It is the same process that is used for sending a regular text message from
your mobile device. It is important to make every effort to begin the text
message indicating the town you are in and provide the best location
information that you can.
“Having the ability to contact a 9-1-1 call
center by text could help those being held against their will or victims of
domestic violence unable to make a voice call,” said Frank Pozniak,
Executive Director of the State 9-1-1 Department. “Text to 9-1-1 also provides
direct access to 9-1-1 emergency services for the deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired,
which is a service that these communities did not have access to until now.”
It is important to note that the 9-1-1 call center may not always have your
exact location when they receive your text. For this reason, when sending a
Text to 9-1-1 it is important to make every effort to begin the text message
indicating the town you are in and provide the best location information that
The State 9-1-1 Department encourages citizens to Text to 9-1-1 only when a
voice call is not possible.
Remember: “Call if you can, text if you can’t.”
It’s hard to believe that it has been 10
years since Winthrop/Revere State Rep. Bob DeLeo was elected the Speaker of the
House by his colleagues. (Yes, time flies.)
We wish to make note of the 10th anniversary
of Speaker DeLeo’s ascension to that post because it was marked by two
significant events that occurred in January, 2009.
First, Bob was chosen
by his colleagues after a succession of House Speakers had been forced to
resign because of various scandals, the last having been Sal DiMasi, who was
indicted on corruption charges by federal prosecutors for which DiMasi
eventually was convicted and sentenced to time in federal prison.
The second was that Bob assumed the
Speakership amidst the greatest economic downturn to face not only
Massachusetts, but the entire country (and the world) since the Great
Needless to say, January of 2009 was a
difficult period for anyone to become Speaker of the House, given the history
of the House during the previous decade and the enormity of the challenges that
the state was facing.
However, from the perspective of looking
back over the past 10 years, it is fair to say that Bob DeLeo has been more
responsible both for restoring the people’s faith in our legislature and for
guiding our state through an incredibly-difficult fiscal
period than any other person in state
Governors have come and gone, as have State
Senate presidents, but the one constant has been the steady hand of Bob DeLeo
at the helm of the House of Representatives.
Not only has Bob DeLeo been the principal
architect of a state budget process that has been both prudent and
forward-looking, but he, more than any other person on Beacon Hill, has been
able to bring together disparate groups and has worked with both the Senate and
Republican administrations to create an atmosphere of collegiality that is
unparalleled in our nation today.
The achievements in our state over the past decade under the Speakership
of Bob DeLeo are a testament to the ability of one person to have a profound
effect upon the lives of the people he serves — and Massachusetts
unquestionably is a better place thanks to Bob DeLeo’s tenure as Speaker of the
House for the past 10 years.
The Chelsea High boys and girls indoor track
teams dropped their first meets of the season last week to Greater Lawrence.
The outcome of the Lady Red Devils’ contest
came down to the final race, the 4 x 400 relay. Chelsea held a 41-40 lead
entering the relay, but Greater Lawrence won the race to win the meet by a
score of 45-41.
Highlights from girls meet included:
1st and third in the high hurdles: Stephanie
Simon, Sandra Tun
1st and third in the 50 yard dash: Stephanie
Simon, Sandra Tun
1st in the 300: Ana Chang
1st in the 600: Yarelis Torres Diaz
1st in the High Jump: Stephanie Simon
1st in the mile: Yarid Deras
On the boys’ side, the Red Devils came up
short by a score of 54-31. The highlights for Chelsea were:
1st in Shot Put: Rigo Flores
1st in the 600: Jazmany Reyes
1st, 2nd, 3rd in mile: Jazmany Reyes, Oscar
Amaya, Ian Padilla
1st, 2nd in 1000: Justin Turner, Limilson
SIMON WINS LONG JUMP AT
Chelsea High track star Stephanie Simon
captured the long jump event at this past weekend’s State Coaches Meet, an
event that features the top athletes in Division 1, with a leap of
18′-0.75″, a distance that qualified Stephanie for the nationals.
Teammate Ana Chang turned in a strong
performance in the 300 dash, finishing in 20th place among a field of 58
For the boys, Red Devil Justin Turner improved
his two-mile school record from 10:18 to 10:13.36.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino said this week he
is preparing new City regulations that would govern the short-term rental
market (known as AirBNB) in Chelsea.
That comes after Gov. Charlie Baker and the
State Legislature worked out a sudden compromise at the end of the year to a
bill that had been stalled since the summer. That bill was signed into law and
went into effect statewide on Jan. 1. While it governs the practice, it also
leaves a lot of room for cities to come up with their own regulations and to
tax such entities.
Ambrosino said he hoped to have something to
the Council in March.
“I’m working on them now,” he said. “I hope
to have a proposal up to the Council with new regulations and requirements
about the local options taxes that we want to collect. I’ve been working on
some drafts and we’ll circulate those internally. We’ll have a proposal to
submit in early March.”
Both houses of the state legislature and
Gov. Charlie Baker found a sudden compromise at the end of December in their
two-year session to push through the stalled short-term rental bill – which
Gov. Baker signed into law on Friday, Dec. 28.
The bill has been a long time in the making
and has been shepherded through the legislature for years by State Rep. Aaron
Michlewitz of the North End, who was happy to see the compromise reached.
Short-term rentals are not a major issue at
the moment in Chelsea, but there are more than a few out there. More are
expected due to the proximity of the city to the airport and the Encore Boston
One of the keys of the state law is that it
will be obvious who operates them and where, something that is kind of a
The new law requires a statewide registry of
operators, something the governor had opposed for some time until late in the
It also levies a 5.7 percent state tax on
all short-term rental units, and allows cities and towns to levy their own
local taxes as well. In Boston, it is proposed to put an additional 6 percent
on each short-term rental unit.
The trade-off with the registry for the
governor seems to be a provision that allows for anyone renting out a unit for
14 days or less to avoid the taxation portion of the law. It was uncertain, but
it initially did appear that those units would have to participate in the
Ambrosino said they would undoubtedly push
to go for the maximum 6 percent local option taxes.
go for the maximum option,” he said. “We’ll look at the Boston ordinance as a
model. It was well-crafted. We’ll make sure rentals are adequately inspected
and safety is addressed.”
The Chelsea High School choir group, led by Co-Directors Peter Pappavasselio and Cole Lundquist, is pictured with CHS Principal Lex Mathews and State Rep. Brad Jones before their performance at the inauguration ceremony for Gov. Charlie Baker.
When Gov. Charlie Baker heard the Chelsea
High advanced choir group Cantare perform at the Chelsea Soldiers Home Veterans
Day program, he was very impressed.
Soon after Baker’s office contacted
Performing Arts Lead teacher and Cantare Co-Director Peter Pappavasselio and
invited the group to perform at his inauguration at the State House.
Pappavasselio accepted the invitation and on
Jan. 3, 24 CHS students had the high honor of performing at the inauguration.
The students, attired in their black and
white formal costume attire, performed the song, “On Winter Mountain,” in front
of Gov. Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, and all of the constitutional officers,
state senators, state representatives, judges, and other distinguished guests
“The song denotes winter imagery, but it
ends with this feeling of peace and contentment,” said Pappavasselio, who
co-directs the group with Cole Lundquist.
A former outstanding high school and college
vocalist with a rich history in music production, Pappavasselio fully
understands the personal and historical significance of being able to perform
at the gubernatorial inauguration which is a quadrennial happening.
“It’s a once-in-a-career, if you’re lucky,
performance,” said Pappavasselio.
co-director said the group has received several accolades for its superb
performance that was captured live by television cameras from the Boston
Supt. of Schools Dr. Mary Bourque and
Principal Lex Mathews were able to attend the inauguration and enjoy the
students’ performance in person. Both administrators were understandably quite
proud of the students.
“A lot of people saw it on television and
it’s being shown on YouTube,” said Pappavasselio.
Next up for
Cantare is the district concert on March 20 at the Williams School.
Chelsea School Superintendent Mary Bourque and Chelsea City Manager Thomas Ambrosino were two panelists Tuesday night at Malden High School discussing school budget funding.
Chelsea School Superintendent Mary Bourque
and Chelsea City Manager Thomas Ambrosino were two panelists Tuesday night at
Malden High School during a forum calling on legislators to overhaul the
state’s current educational funding model to ensure equity for all students,
especially those in low-income areas.
During the state’s last legislative session
a bill by State Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Jamaica Plain) would have recalculated
the cost to educate each student in public school districts known as the ‘foundation
budget’ and poured millions of dollars into school over the next several years.
However that bill failed and educators like
Bourque are calling this mechanism the state uses to provide students with
equitable access to educational opportunities ‘obsolete’ and must be revised to
meet the expectations of today’s economy.
Because the state has not updated its
education funding formula since 1993 to reflect districts’ real health
insurance and special education costs, the amount of aid being provided to
cover those costs is too small.
To compensate, many districts like Chelsea
end up using money that would otherwise have supported core education
programs—including Regular Ed. Teachers, Materials & Technology, and
Professional Development. This also results in dramatic cuts in other areas of
“The time is now because we have no more
time left,” said Bourque at Tuesday night’s meeting. “There will be more cuts
because we don’t know where the money will come from. We cut all of our after
school programs…elementary (afterschool) programs two years ago and middle
school after school programs last year. It’s time to make changes to the
formula and we need to make the formula work for us. It is time to save the
futures of our students and open those doors to the future. We can not afford
to have our students go through another year of cuts in their school system.”
The problem for low income school districts
like Chelsea is there is a growing equity gap between schools in Chelsea and
schools in more affluent areas of the state. When faced with such shortfalls,
high-wealth districts can often draw on additional, local revenue. Lower-wealth
districts like Chelsea, however, are generally unable to do so and the
consequence is that they spend less on resources that are critically important
to the quality of education students receive.
“I do think there a lot of school systems in
a financial crisis my expectation is that if this is not addressed in this
legislative session we are going to have a lot of tough decisions to make like
Brockton did where they had to lay off a significant amount of teachers,” said
Ambrosino. “We are living in good economic times. State revenues have been
running above estimates for quite some time so it’s time for the legislature to
use this good fortune and make education a priority once again and invest in
education. This is not easy and requires a lot of money so I don’t envy any
legislators that have to work on this but budgets are all about priorities. A
budget, simply put, is a policy statement on your (the legislation’s)
priorities and the legislature once again has to make education a priority. If
it doesn’t there will be too many ‘have nots’ in the Commonwealth once again.”
Estimates by lawmakers to fix the budget
formula could be as high as $1 billion with Gov. Charlie Baker vowing to put forth his own proposal to
fix the broken system after the House and Senate couldn’t agree on a solution
However, Bourque said something has to be
done and done soon because Chelsea is running a $7.4 million school budget gap
between what the state covers for education and what the Chelsea School
District is actually spending to educate students.
obligated to meet our students needs and provide for them so they can be successful
and have futures,” said Bourque. “Sometimes, as a superintendent, I feel like
we’ve been living on a ‘fixed budget’ since 1993 and that fixed income is not
working. The result is that we are stretched too thin.”
Chelsea’s State Rep. Dan
Ryan has been inaugurated for another term in the legislature this week, and he
said he is ready to tackle issues from transportation to opiate recovery
research in the new term.
On Wednesday, with the
new class of the state legislature, Rep. Ryan took the oath of office along
with Gov. Charlie Baker and the rest of the Commonwealth. It will be his third
full term in office, and he said it will be an interesting term with new faces
and a Republican governor in his second round.
“I think the voters of
Chelsea and Charlestown first and foremost for giving me two more years,” he
said. “It will be my third full term and Gov. Baker’s second term. We’ll have
some big changes in the House and it will be very interesting to see what those
changes look like. It will be interesting to see what happens with Gov. Baker’s
second term. He was easy to work with in the first term with very moderate
Republican stances. Second terms are different so we’ll see what that dynamic
Ryan also praised House
Speaker Bob DeLeo for his leadership in 2018, and his new term in 2019 – having
also been sworn in as the House Speaker again on Wednesday.
“I’ll be supporting the
Speaker in this next term,” he said. “He’s had a strong hand in this
legislative session with everything going on in the Senate, the House needed to
be the grown up in the room and the Speaker was very pragmatic in moving things
Ryan is now the vice
chair of the Substance Abuse/Mental Health Committee, and also serves on the
Transportation, Post Audit and Veterans Affairs Committees. He said he has also
been appointed to Task Forces charged with looking at the Commuter Rail and
looking into issues related to the Opiate Bill passed last year.
“There’s going to be a
lot of movement in the chairmanships, but I think I’m going to be on the same
committees,” he said. “I’ll be spending a lot of time doing transportation
work. That’s not always the issue that gets a lot of attention, but it’s very
Ryan said the last
session was very progressive, including legislation on criminal justice reform,
the opiate bill, pay equity, the transgender accommodation bill and banning
bump stock firing devices for firearms.
“We got a lot of progressive legislation though in the last two years,” he
said. “Even though some didn’t think we were progressive enough, I think it was
one of the most forward looking sessions in a long time.”
arrested a 24-year-old Chelsea man in connection to a shooting and stabbing at
16 Pleasant St. early Saturday morning.
Hector Emilio Hernandez,
was arrested on charges of attempted murder and unlawful possession of a
firearm following the alleged attack, according to Jake Wark, spokesman for the
Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.
Revere police and
emergency medical personnel responded to 16 Pleasant St. at about 1:45 a.m.
Saturday to find a 27-year-old man from Chelsea apparently shot and a 23-year
old man from Chelsea apparently stabbed. Both were hospitalized. State Police
detectives were notified and the Suffolk County State Police Detective Unit
Hernandez is expected to
be arraigned Monday in Chelsea District Court.
“The relationship between
the parties involved remains under investigation, as do the circumstances
surrounding the violent encounter,” Wark said in a statement.
Wark added that based on
an investigation that continued through Saturday morning and into Saturday
afternoon, troopers and officers developed information that the suspect may be
in the area of Calumet Street in Revere.
Troopers and officers set up surveillance and observed a man matching the
suspect’s description enter a residence on that street.
When police went to the
house they observed the suspect exit a back door and try to climb a fence. He
was caught and apprehended and transported to the State Police Barracks in
Revere where he was booked on charges of attempted murder and unlawful
possession of a firearm.
Anyone with information
about the incident is asked to contact the Revere Police Criminal Investigation
Division at 781-286-8340 or the Suffolk County State Police Detective Unit at
The Massachusetts Department of Revenue confirmed last week that the required revenue metrics have been met to ensure the state’s Part B income tax rate will drop on Jan. 1, 2019 from the current 5.10 percent to 5.05 percent.
“A strong economy and careful management of the Commonwealth’s finances have created the conditions for Massachusetts taxpayers to get a much-deserved break,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “We are pleased that next year we will see taxpayers be able to keep more of their hard-earned money.”
A state law enacted in 2002 provides the statutory mechanism to lower the Part B individual income tax rate, based on certain revenue milestones. The legislation replaced a tax-rate reduction schedule that had passed by ballot initiative in November 2000.
“I was pleased to receive confirmation from the Department of Revenue that the revenue trigger had been met. This reflects steady revenue growth and a nice break for taxpayers,” said Administration and Finance Secretary Michael J. Heffernan.
The law provides that for each tax year in which certain inflation-adjusted baseline revenue growth requirements are met, the income tax rate will be reduced by increments of 0.05 percentage points until the rate reaches 5 percent.
Part B income includes wages, salary, and many other forms of income, including self-employment income; business, professional and farm income; S corporation distributions; and rental income from personal property. The rate associated with Part B income is also applied to several other income categories, including interest and dividends and most long-term capital gains.
There are five revenue tests that determine whether a rate reduction is required, beginning with growth in revenue over the previous fiscal year, and including a series of four additional growth measures. If any one of the incremental tests is not met, the rate reduction does not proceed. With DOR’s certification of the most recent revenue measure, all five tests in 2018 have now been met.
The rate reduction was last triggered on Jan. 1, 2016, when it dropped from 5.15% to 5.10%. Previous reductions included:
Jan. 1, 2012 (rate reduced from 5.3% to 5.25%)
Jan. 1, 2014 (rate reduced from 5.25% to 5.2%)
Jan. 1, 2015 (rate reduced from 5.2% to 5.15%)
The state budget for Fiscal 2019 accounted for the income tax rate change, which is projected to reduce tax revenue by approximately $84 million in Fiscal Year 2019 and approximately $175 million in Fiscal Year 2020.
If revenues in 2019 are sufficient to trigger a further rate reduction, the Part B income tax rate will drop to 5% for the 2020 tax year.