9% Increase: Done in Vacuum of Ignorance

Thursday night (Jan. 14) at Public Hearing on the proposed school district budget, the superintendent praised the school budget committee for all its hard work.  Hard work, indeed. The budget is up 9.3% over what the district ran on in the year which ended just last June.

Here is a list of the information the budget committee did not discuss or even have in their packets before they approved this eye-popping 9.3% gift to the superintendent:

  • The district’s projected enrollment for the budget year (2016/17)
  • The current year’s staffing numbers
  • The budget year’s staffing numbers
  • How many “cut” positions were actually vacant
  • The projected revenue
  • How much of 14/15 surplus was due to under-expenditure or  revenue
  • The profit or loss of the full-time kindergarten program
  • The number of full-time kindergarten students on full or partial waiver of tuition
  • The district’s capital improvement plan for capital improvements and current building and site improvements (There isn’t one yet, but they should be demanding one)
  • The district’s technology plan for computer and software purchases (There isn’t one, but they should be demanding one)
  • The collective bargaining agreement with the teachers’ union and its impact on the budget.  (The teachers ratified the district’s proposed contract on Dec. 3, a week before the budget committee passed this budget.)

And POOF!  You have a 69.3 million budget when comparable school districts run better on considerably less per student. No only that, but in the year before (14-15), the district ran on less than $64 million dollars.  Now they can’t go without $69.3 million and between that year  and the budget year, we will have lost just about 250 students.

But PLEASE don’t ever say the budget committee didn’t do their job.  They met for two whole meetings with the entire budget before them, and they were careful to rush to approve a budget knowing a collective bargaining agreement was in the works for the teachers – which means that the increase in the teachers’ contract  is over and above the increase in the budget.

Don’t think you’ll find relief in the default budget.  That has been manipulated to be higher than the proposed budget.

Next year we are forecast to lose 140 students…. but you know, the budget committee worked very hard, very, very hard.

Update: Jan. 18, 2016.  I should add that some members of the budget committee did try to obtain more information and I apologize for tarring them with the same brush. Cathy Gorman did request more details but was stonewalled by her own chairman and the administration. The budget committee is responsible for their own ignorance.  In truth, many don’t even know what they don’t know. Mr. Cantone and Ms. Gorman certainly do, but they do not have the support of the majority.

 

 

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