Superintendent of Schools
22 Main St.
West Newbury, MA 01985
For Immediate Release
Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015
Contact: Jeff Mulqueen, Superintendent
Pentucket Regional School District Superintendent Reports on Emergency Snow Removal Expenditures
Budget Frozen Until New Fiscal Year Starts on July 1
Superintendent Mulqueen Remains Optimistic
WEST NEWBURY, Mass. — Pentucket Regional School District Superintendent Jeff Mulqueen reports that the district will begin a period of “fiscal conservatism” even as a final tally of costs associated with emergency snow removal is still being calculated.
On January 27, winter hit the North Shore of Massachusetts with the first of several severe snow storms. The rapid accumulation of snow on the roofs of schools, paired with record low temperatures and insufficient melting, resulted in Pentucket and several other school districts taking bold action of cancelling a week of classes to ensure the safety of students and staff and the structural integrity of its schools.
One week later, the labor of nearly 200 workers has resulted in the removal of approximately 3,225 tons of snow from roofs of schools in Groveland, Merrimac, and West Newbury.
The weight of accumulated snow and the prediction of future storms had raised concerns about the 215,000 sq. ft. of flat roof surface on roofs at the conclusion of the storm on February 9, 2015. However, the high level of collaboration among towns and the District expedited the needed removal of snow from roofs and is supporting the extraordinary ground operations required to complete the work. Ground operations are projected continue through the weekend at some sites.
“All of this labor comes at a tremendous cost,” said Greg Labrecque, Business Administrator for the District. “While it is too early to project a final cost incurred by the District, snow removal for this season will easily surpass the original $33,000 in the budget.”
Labrecque is tabulating the total costs as the snow removal operation continues. When budget accounts cannot meet critical needs, school districts look to other areas of the budget to fill the gaps.
“We are reviewing our budget and, at least for the short term, curtailing spending in all areas as we contend with the anticipated costs of our record breaking winter,” Superintendent Mulqueen said. “Our towns and District will continue to partner closely together on snow removal so that we all make it through this fiscal challenge.”
Superintendent Mulqueen continues to express his gratitude for the productive partnership that exists with the towns. Each town, like the District, is wrestling with the large expense of this unprecedented stormy season.
Governor Baker initiated state of emergency procedures that could result in federal assistance. The nature of this emergency, however, is somewhat different. This emergency is not due to one, isolated event. The circumstances of this emergency involve a series of severe snow storms that may not have come to an end. Pentucket has taken steps to be ready itself for any potential reimbursement.
“Although it would be beneficial for Pentucket to receive some emergency relief from the federal government, dollars would not be reaching us in time to have an impact on this fiscal year,” said Labrecque. “With that in mind, Pentucket’s budget is predicted to parallel the frigid temperatures and be frozen until the new fiscal year on July 1.”
The district will endeavor to limit any impact felt by students, faculty, and staff.
Superintendent Mulqueen remains optimistic.
“While Pentucket’s budget continues to endure the negative impact of unanticipated costs related to the obsolete infrastructure of the high school and the enormous expenses of snow removal, I remain optimistic and am committed to managing the operational budget in ways that do not result in an overburden to our communities,” he said.