After over five hours of meeting Monday night into early Tuesday morning, the Medford School Committee reconvened Tuesday night to approve a $47.5 million budget for the 2013 school year. The budget falls about $1.3 million short of offering level services compared to 2012, but doesn't have as quite as many cuts as originally anticipated. It was passed unanimously by the committee. On Monday, the committee heard from parents, teachers and students who spoke out against eliminating the middle school foreign language program, a cut that would have saved the district about $120,000. Their message was apparently heard -- Funding for that program, and about $210,000 in funding to other programs, was restored in the revised version of the budget.
John Michael Perella has been selected as the next headmaster at Medford High School. Perella, currently an assistant principal in the Revere school system, was announced as the selection by Superintendent Roy Belson before a budget meeting Monday night. Belson said Perella received his support, along with the school committee and a parent advisory board. "I believe he was the consensus pick,” Belson said. Perella is currently an assistant principal at Garfield Middle School in Revere. He will replace Paul Krueger, who is retiring this summer. Krueger has been headmaster since 1998.
The Medford firefighters union is in the early stages of creating a proposal to have a city owned and operated ambulance service, union officials said Thursday. During the City Council's annual review of the fire department's budget, union president Bill O'Brien told city officials that a union committee had been formed to come up with a plan for a fire department-operated ambulance. They hope to bring a proposal to the city next year, O'Brien said.
Facing a shortage in manpower, the Medford Police Department has doled out about $1 million in overtime pay in the last year, police Chief Leo Sacco said Wednesday. That's about $400,000 more than budgeted for. Sacco appeared before the City Council Wednesday as it undergoes its review of the municipal budget. The big spending on overtime was partly a result of a delay in the hiring of six new police officers, according to Sacco, who were included in the 2012 fiscal budget but won't be entering academy until later this month. The 2012 fiscal year for the city ends June 30. Money budgeted for the six positions -- $327,744 -- was used to offset the increase in overtime, Sacco said. The 2013 budget as proposed would increase the overtime budget from $600,000 to $800,000.
The proposed Medford Fire Department budget for 2013 includes about a 9 percent pay raise for most uniformed firefighters -- including the chief and four deputy chiefs. The raises are result of a previously negotiated contract agreement between the city and the Medford firefighters' union. They mark the end of a 21-month pay freeze the union had previously agreed to with the city. The Medford City Council reviewed the department's budget Wednesday night as part of its on-going preliminary review of the municipal budget.