Winchester May Have To Close Schools

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The town of Winchester is in such dire straits financially, they may have to close its three schools in December.

To keep the town’s three public schools open, Winchester has asked the state Board of Education for an advance on funding they are due to receive in May. The state says that is unlikely, due to state statutes. But, they will review the matter.

David LaPointe, a former Chairman of the Winchester Board of Education, says the doom and gloom picture, the Superintendent of Schools is painting, is nothing new for this town.

“We were told that, you know, we’re going to have to lay off 25 teachers. We were told that we’re gonna have to lay off paraprofessionals. We might even have to close the schools, said LaPointe, who has lived in Winchester since 2001.

Superintendent of Schools Thomas Danahey told the state Board of Education Wednesday that the school system has not been able to pay all of its bills because it’s not receiving enough funding from the town.

“I would probably agree with that statement. We’re giving them the level of funding, perhaps not at the pace that they demand it, but at a pace that was laid out prior to the start of the fiscal year,” said Dale Martin, Winchester Town Manager.

The town is still resolving the financial troubles related, in part, to former Finance Director Henry Centrella allegedly stealing over $2 million from the town.

“We continue to pay our bills in a timely fashion making all payrolls, insurance payments and critical vendors bills,” said Danehy, in a written statement. But, Danehy told the state yesterday the school district has been unable to pay its bills.

And, in a September 23rd cable access telecast, Danehy said, “We have some outstanding bills from the 2012-13 school year. We haven’t overspent the budget. In fact, we’ll be sending back about $7,000 to the town.”

They’re sending back money? Don’t they need money? This could be cleared up if the Superintendent or a member of the Winchester Board of Education would talk.

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