Published in the July 1, 2015
By GAIL LOWE
WAKEFIELD — As schools Business Manager Michael Pfifferling closes out the books for Fiscal Year 2015, he said that just as homeowners’ fuel budgets were impacted this past winter, the heating fuel costs for all schools in Wakefield will exceed the budget by approximately $94,000 due to the frigid, extended winter season.
Pfifferling revealed the shortfall at a recent school board meeting. Heating fuel was budgeted at $420,279 for Fiscal Year 2015.
“The cold and extended winter forced us to spend more than we had budgeted,” he said.
A full report of school finances will be given at the school board’s Tuesday, July 14 meeting, including those for the food service program and Special Education.
C.A.S.IT.Inc. has always been generous with Wakefield schools but a letter to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Stephen K. Zrike dated June 1 from President Maria Gioconda Motta stated that “current economic constraints and currency exchange rates resulting from the worldwide recession make it impossible for us to fully grant your request for the 2015-2016 school year.”
Motta wrote: “I write to you with a very heavy heart. Our cooperation and collaboration over the past years has been fruitful and has allowed your students to benefit from immersion in the Italian language and culture. While the Italian government has been a generous benefactor in our quest to promote the Italian language, current economic constraints and currency exchange rates resulting from the worldwide recession make it impossible for us to fully grant your request for the 2015-2016 school year.
“Our sincere hope is that the enclosed check in the amount of $2,7500 toward Google Chrome laptops, as per your request, will be of help to your program.
In the past, C.A.S.IT.Inc. has donated more than twice that amount.
Motta did assure Dr. Zrike that C.A.S.IT.Inc. would continue to welcome all Wakefield’s teachers in professional development workshops.
“Additionally, our updated library stores a wealth of teacher reference books, student textbooks and multi-media materials,” she said.
The organization’s annual casino night fundraiser will be held on Friday, Nov. 6 during which its 20th anniversary will be celebrated. C.A.S.IT.Inc. is relying on proceeds from the event to help fulfill original grant requests.
Other news on the School Department’s financial front:
• Superintendent of Schools Dr. Stephen K. Zrike received a letter from the Office of Governor Charles D. Baker that a Coordinated Family and Community Engagement grant of $147,200 has been renewed.
In a letter to Zrike, Baker wrote: “We want to thank you for your continued commitment to provide families with access to locally available comprehensive services and educational support that strengthen families and promote optimal child development and school readiness.
“Through this funding and your continued engagement with families, we will strengthen a family’s capacity as its child’s first teacher, giving children across the Commonwealth the support they need to be successful in school and in life.”
The grant award was subject to funding appropriation in the Department of Early Education and Care’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget.
The EEC will soon contact the School Department with the next steps of processing the award.
Gifts and donations during Fiscal Year 2015 totaled $35,499, said Pfifferling. Donations were as follows:
• $1,700 Dolbeare School PTO for TV monitor
• $1,000 Valuelude LLC in Wakefield for Dolbeare School foreign language program
• $2,000 IBM for Dolbeare School foreign language program
• $7,500 C.A.S.IT.Inc. for purchase of iPads
• $3,094 (in kind) Donald E. Garrant/The Savings Bank 30 textbooks for high school business curriculum principles of banking
• $5,000 Wakefield Co-operative Bank for the Bring Your Own Device program
• $575 from Doyle PTO to be used at the school’s discretion
• $4,000 (in kind) high school Basketball Boosters for shoot-a-way basketball shooting gun
• $2,000 Wakefield Educational Foundation/METCO 45 year anniversary to be used at the school’s discretion
• $75 Lueders Environmental (school discretion)
• $350 Friends and neighbors of D. Flynn for school-to-work SPED program
• $3,500 Wakefield Co-operative Bank for Parent University
• $200 from Beth Beaudreau Photography for the Class of 2015 to be used as needed.
• $255 from the Doyle PTO spring boot camp fundraiser.
Though not reported at the school board meeting, member Thomas Markham III said that the third year of Dr. Zrike’s contract will go unpaid.
“Dr. Zrike is leaving money on the table,” said Markham. “He did break his contract and gave us only 30 days’ notice. There are certain penalties that come with that, including the loss of vacation days and his final year of salary.”
“We do wish him every success as he continues his career in education,” said Markham.