Budget Gap Vexes School Committee

In tonight's voting by the Cambridge School Committee on next year's budget, officials will be trying to answer the question on everyone's minds--can you create nearly a half million dollars out of thin air?

After initial estimates placed the costs for restructuring Cambridge and Latin School (CRLS) at $700,000 in Superintendent of Schools Bobbie J. D'Alessandro's budget last week , CRLS officials are now pushing for $450,000 in additional funding. And while they say the additional funding is crucial, they have yet to pinpoint where the money will come from.

D'Alessandro has given assurances she can initiate "creative" ways to increase funding, but many school committee members have expressed public concern about the proposed funding--and why there were not told earlier about it.

Two months after the committee unanimously passed a major reform to CRLS to even out the current system of "houses," which vary in size and use different teaching styles by creating five "schools" of uniform size starting this fall, fallout over details of the agreement has caused tension between the superintendent and school committee members.

Who Wants To Be a Half Millionaire?

CRLS officials say the increased funding will be crucial to ensure the high school will open on schedule this fall.

"These are one-time resources so that when the school opens in September, we'll be ready for it," said David Hannon, a CRLS parent and co-chair of the school's budget committee.

The CRLS budget committee sent the request for additional funding to D'Alessandro more than three weeks ago.