Guest Contribution by Arthur Green
The School Board at their Dec 15 meeting struggled with the responsibility of requiring the administration to provide the 2017/18 Default Budget in line item detail.
I did what I could at that meeting to be of assistance.
I’ve constructed my own Responsible Choice Default Budget for 2017/18. Its bottom line is a whopping $1.38 million LESS than Timberlane’s official default budget.
- The Responsible Choice Default Budget: 70,177,378
- TRSD’s 17/18 Default budget: 71,559,011
- TRSD’s proposed 17/18 budget: 71,528,093
As has been the case for the two previous years and now this coming year, if you want to vote against the proposed budget, you get a default budget which is higher.
Some highlights of my Responsible Choice Default Budget (Draft Two):
- Preserves all the contractually binding salary and benefit increases included in the TRSD default budget
- Current with all changes in the approved (Draft 4) proposed budget as well as the Default budget as approved by the school board on Thursday
- The one-time expenditures which have been removed are listed in my Dec. 10 blog: https://timberlaneandsandown.wordpress.com/2016/12/04/the-responsible-choice-default-budget/ However, the software licensing fee for Infinite Visions product has been put back in because the administration told the school board that this is a recurring, not a one-time charge. Donna Green has a Right To Know for the contract documents pending, which will help us to confirm that this is correct.
- The district’s proposed budget has, in places, requested less money than in their default budget. My Responsible Default Budget carries forward this extra $610,000 from their default budget, which would be available for transfer of appropriation to mitigate the other areas in which the Responsible Choice default budget is lower than what the district is requesting in its proposed budget.
- Special Ed is actually slightly higher in the Responsible Choice Default Budget than in the TRSD Proposed (not Default) budget.
- Some people are pretending to have difficulty distinguishing between Repair/Maintenance versus Capital Improvements. No such difficulty exists when allocating Capital costs to the towns on the annual tax allocation. Even after Capital Improvements are removed, the district still has $440,000 for Repair and Maintenance, virtually the same as the current year. Replacement Equipment in my default budget is $546,000, which is down somewhat from this current year budget of $609,000 because I removed items which were presented to last year’s Budcom as exceptional needs. The prior year replacement budget was $539,000, so the Responsible Choice Default budget is a return to and slightly better than the previous level.