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Chicopee residents speak out against possible reallocation of school funds

Several Chicopee residents, including teachers, spoke out at Tuesday night’s city council meeting, voicing their concerns regarding the possibility that $1.25 m
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 8:32 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 21, 2022 at 10:32 PM EDT
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CHICOPEE, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Several Chicopee residents, including teachers, spoke out at Tuesday night’s city council meeting, voicing their concerns regarding the possibility that $1.25 million could be reallocated away from city schools.

One of those speakers, Chicopee Education President Laura Demakis, said the Chicopee Education Association worked hard to pass the Student Opportunity Act, which gave $37 million to Chicopee public schools over a seven year period, but it is only in its first year, so school therefore remain underfunded.

“This bill was overwhelmingly passed once it was clear that for decades, the state has underfunded Chicopee public schools so much that it will take $37 million a year, plus inflation, to catch our state of education in Chicopee up to the rest of the state,” Demakis said.

Following the public input section of the meeting, City Councilman Derek Dobosz suggested the matter be handled through the finance committee.

He added that the school committee should be present when that does occur in order to present their side.

“Personally, I believe that the $1.25 million should be spent on the schools,” Councilman Dobosz said. “I don’t think it should be removed. It seems like a way to filter COVID ESSERF funds that should be sent to the schools to kind of siphon that money to the city side, and I don’t agree with that.”

The city council eventually voted to schedule a meeting on June 30th at 5:30 p.m. for the school committee to discuss budget related items, and then there will be a regular budget meeting with the finance committee on the same night at 6:15 p.m.