Pentucket Schools Warn About Impact of Snow Removal Cost

Pentucket Regional High School.

Snow removal costs at the Pentucket Regional school district will bring “a period of "fiscal conservatism" even as a final tally of costs associated with emergency snow removal is still being calculated,” according to Superintendent Jeffrey Mulqueen.

WHAV reported Thursday “significant progress has been made” on snow removal efforts at Pentucket Regional School District schools, including the removal of all of the snow that caused concern over the safety of the rooftops, and lead to schools being closed before this week’s February break. The Pentucket schools are set to re-open as scheduled on Monday.

“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,” 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.”

“All of this labor comes at a tremendous cost,” said Greg Labrecque, business administrator. "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, according to a news release.

Long-time WHAV listeners will remember Labrecque for his role in illegally censoring WHAV on Groveland's public access television system in 2009. Labrecque formerly served as the town's finance chief.

According to Mulqueen, 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,” Mulqueen said

The Pentucket Regional School District serves students in the towns of West Newbury, Groveland and Merrimac.