Melrose Overspends the
School Budget by more than 2.2M
On September 27, 2022, the Superintendent of Melrose Public Schools revealed to the public that the fiscal year school budget was facing a $2.2m shortfall. In a September 21, memorandum to the Mayor and the School Committee, she stated that she was first aware that there may have been a problem in early June, but became fully aware of the extent of the issue on July 12th. She also stated that "throughout July, August, and September, I have been openly communicating with [Mayor Paul Brodeur] and members of the School Committee about our progress and strategy to utilize every financial resource available to the school District to mitigate the deficit. Our approach has included analyzing spending patterns and assessing where and why expenses were charged to various accounts and grants."
Perhaps more troubling than the deficit alone is that Kukenberger was in the process of receiving her annual review at that time. On July 26, 2022, one month following the superintendent’s discovery, the School Committee voted to accept her evaluation as fully satisfactory and awarded her a raise per chair Jen McAndrew's recommendation. During this meeting, the budget was never mentioned - in essence, concealing it from the public.
The above information begs for answers to questions such as:
Why did Superintendent Kukenberger wait until the budget was in a critical state to start "analyzing spending patterns and assessing where and why expenses were charged to various accounts and grants?" Why wasn't she doing that already--it's her job.
Why was the budget deficit concealed from the public during the July 26, August 30, and September 13 school committee meetings?
When, specifically, did the Mayor and each member of the School Committee become aware of the deficit? Was it while the Superintendent’s evaluation was underway?
To answer these, and other questions, the Melrose City Council will hold a special meeting, on Tuesday, October 11th at 7:00PM, under the city council "ORDER-2023-26 Seeking Information on the Budget Shortfall of the Melrose Public Schools."
We will be adding documents to this page as we receive them.
Superintendent Kukenberger's Update to the School Committee
Watch the Superintendent's report to the school committee. (Budget report begins at the 1:06:31 mark)
FOIA Request to the City of Melrose
Download the FOIA Request requesting all emails related to the budget deficit, Superintendent Kukenberger's evaluation, and raise.
Email to School Committee re Superintendent Kukenbergers Contract
Download the email requesting the School Committee extension of any notification to renew Superintendent Kukenberger's contract.
Email to City Council regarding Special Meeting
Download email to the city council regarding the special meeting agenda and questions for the superintendent
Letter to the Melrose Weekly News
Special Meeting of the City Council Announcement & Agenda Packet
Download the October 11, 2022 Agenda Packet for the Special Meeting of the City council where they will be asking questions of Dr. Kukenberger
Superintendent's Evaluation & Memo in support of Salary Raise
Download Superintendent Kukenberger's evaluation and Memo in support of her salary raise.