Official Press Release From the Mayor's Office and the City of Pittsfield:

– On Friday, June 12, City of Pittsfield officials issued an urgent appeal to the Baker-Polito administration, along with federal and state representatives, to level fund Chapter 70 aid in the FY21 school budget in the City of Pittsfield. Officials are also advocating for a release on federal CARES Act funding that will allow it to be used for revenue recovery for the city.

The letter was sent to Gov. Charlie Baker; Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito; Sen. Edward Markey; Sen. Elizabeth Warren; U.S. Rep. Richard Neal; Sen. Adam Hinds; Rep. Tricia-Farley-Bouvier; and Rep. Paul Mark.

It was signed by Mayor Linda Tyer; Superintendent Jason McCandless, Pittsfield Public Schools; City Council President Peter Marchetti; Chair Katherine Yon, School Committee; and Melissa Campbell, president, United Educators of Pittsfield.

In the communication, officials describe the far-reaching and devastating impact that cuts to Chapter 70 funding will have on the Pittsfield educational system. The letter also depicts a range of worst case scenarios that identify the specific impact of funding reductions.

It reads in part:

“… We write to express our urgent and fervent advocacy in seeking, at the very least, level-funding of Chapter 70 school funds for the FY21 school budget in the City of Pittsfield. Moreover, we are appealing to our representatives in the United States Congress to provide federal funding that would enable our Massachusetts public schools to continue to educate our children in these unprecedented and challenging times. Releasing restrictions on the federal CARES Act funding to allow it to be used for revenue recovery will provide Pittsfield with a desperately needed backstop against lost revenue.

Without your intervention, the massive impact the pandemic has brought upon our economy will have devastating consequences in our schools. Our appeal is to preserve fundamental components of our local educational system. In the City of Pittsfield, approximately 64% of the school budget comes directly from the Commonwealth via Chapter 70 funding. The FY21 Pittsfield Public Schools budget stands at $65,113,700. The budget assumes level-funded Chapter 70. Even with this hopeful assumption, the school budget has to be reduced by $1.4 million…

We implore our leadership in the Commonwealth and our representatives in the United States Congress to support the allocation of state and federal funds to, at the very least, level-fund Chapter 70 school aid in Pittsfield and to release restrictions on the federal CARES Act funding. In this time of unparalleled change, Pittsfield administrators, teachers, students, and families have done their part. Now is the time for our leaders to do the same. Please support our children’s right to a quality education.”

Nice job City Officials and School Administrators. Let's keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best.