Basic Budget Facts

Budgets aren't the most exciting topic, but they are important to know about especially if you want to be informed on what's going on with our schools. We highly recommend that you take a minute to read through this. It will help you better understand the process for how Westfield gets and spends money on our schools.

How a School Budget is Born
Each year, the Mayor of Westfield is required by law to propose a budget. It's his job to recommend how to spend the money coming into the city. Westfield's recent budgets have been in the neighborhood of $100 million. Once the mayor issues his budget recommendation for the whole city, the school committee develops a budget for the school department. The school budget is based on the numbers given to them by the mayor. But it's up to the school committee to determine how to best spend the money it is given. Once the school committee settles on a budget, the city council must vote to accept it. In the past few years, the school budget has been right around $50 million. That's about half of the overall budget and is far and away the city's biggest single expenditure.

Where Do the Schools Get the Money From? 
The money for Westfield's schools comes from many different places, but primarily from three main sources:

  • Local funding. This is where most of our money that runs our schools comes from. Most of the local funding comes from property taxes and excise taxes.
  • State funding. The state provides the next highest level of funding for the schools. One big chunk of state funding comes from the "Chapter 70." By law, all Chapter 70 money must be used for elementary and secondary schools. It cannot be used for any other reason, like fixing potholes, for example. "Local aid" money that comes from the state can also be used for the schools. Unlike Chapter 70 money, local aid can be used anyway the city wishes. The state also offers grant programs that the city can participate in as well.
  • Federal funding. The Federal government has many different programs that the city can participate in.