Sunday, January 2, 2011

1/6 Superintendent's 2011-2012 Budget Presentation & Budget Schedule

The Superintendent is scheduled to deliver his budget presentation on 1/6 at 7:30pm in the Town Council chambers. As was discussed during the 12/2/2010 BOE Business meeting, unlike prior budget presentations Dr. Florio will also list specific areas of reduction that may be visited based on funding scenarios. Perhaps the biggest complaint I received during the last budget process was about the specific details surrounding reductions were not made available until it was too late. Bucking the trend, we decided to make this information available upfront in the budget process because it's important for everyone to know what could be impacted based on the level of funding approved by the BOE and ultimately the TC.

In discussing the upcoming budget with Dr. Florio, I assume the following accounts will represent the majority of the budget increase over 2010-2011. Yes, I fully expect the budget request to be significantly greater for 2010-2011 for the following reasons:

- Contracted Salary Increases (est 4.6%)
- 10-13% (est) Increase in Medical Benefits Costs
- Funding/Catch Up Contribution to Retirement Plan
- Special Education Cost Uncertainty
- Transportation Cost Increases (due in large part to the special ed account)
- Potential loss of $1.2M in federal stimulus money

I will be posting 2011-2012 budget information, some of which, may be scattered among several or more topics. In attempt to try and organize this information, I've added a 2011-2012 Budget Library link to the home page. The idea is to try and index 2011-2012 budget content.


Anonymous said...

Making people aware early on about areas in the budget where reductions may be made is a good idea but it could back fire too. As soon as a possible reduction is mentioned it seems large groups of people who don't normally follow any meetings, let alone budget meetings, show up reciting their desire for the board not to make cuts to their program. Then it snowballs to other groups.

I think what the board needs to do, besides talking about possible areas of reductions, is to make it clear to the public that you're looking for reasonable budget solutions also. In other words, when you get the groups of people up there saying they don't want their programs cut, then ask them to make suggestions of other areas that could be reduced or ideas that could save programs.

It gets tiring hearing all these groups saying they moved here for the school system, don't cut their programs, and they'll gladly pay more taxes.

It's not realistic. Either they have better suggestions or they can come up to the microphone with a personal check to go towards saving their programs (or their teachers jobs if that's the case).

Anonymous said...

Tony, I think it's great that you're putting in the effort to inform Cheshire. But I think it will fall on deaf ears. No matter what you do, say or publish it will come down to those folks that believe Cheshire can't spend enough on education and those that believe you need to slash the budget at all costs.

You're in a lose-lose situation. Cut the budget and you'll be labeled anti-education...increase it and you'll be labeled wasteful spending. I'm so happy I'm not in your shoes. :-)

FWIW, continue what you're doing. Focus on the facts and don't get caught up in the propaganda around property values tied to education or those that proclaim to gladly pay more for education. Did any of those "Raise My Taxes!" people write a check to the Town last time around? Of course not.

I don't envy you.

Anonymous said...

this blog has become the anti-teacher blog
more comments on how the union is so bad etc
Too bad it does not really listen..Too
I just gives tony and tim a place to vent

Anonymous said...

Making people aware of the cuts early on can not hurt.

To previous anonymous posts: How arrogant to assume your stand is the correct one and that "it could backfire" getting other residents involved. Aren't they also taxpaying residents as yourself? Don't they have a right to stand up for their purpose as you do yours?

Ignorance is what is expensive.

Anonymous said...

Maybe, 8:23, you should reread the post. No where does it say that residents shouldn't get involved. The point of the post was to make those who want to get involved to at least try to help with possible solutions/ideas rather than just complaining.

Complaining gets you nowhere - ideas & solutions move you forward.

Tony Perugini said...

"this blog has become the anti-teacher blog
more comments on how the union is so bad etc"

8:13...Where do I mention that the teacher's union is so bad?!? Or anything that is "anti-teacher"? To try and label my blog as "anti-teacher" is ludicrous.

If you're referring to the articles on Rhode Island and New Jersey...yes, then I think those unions need an overhaul and they clearly have serious issues. But NJ and RI don't reflect Cheshire. I posted those articles to show just how good Cheshire has it compared to other school districts.

I'm listening...what's on your mind?

Anonymous said...

At what point do the teachers and parents who want more and more money for education listen?
I went to several of the budget hearings last year and the arrogance of some parents who felt that they were owed more money in the education budget because that was the reason they moved to this town was unbelievable. They are the same ones who will move out once we educate their kids.
Why not be fair to all citizens in this town and try to keep the tax rate somewhat reasonable while offering the best services we can. It may not make everyone happy, but at least it will keep many of the long time citizens who built this town up living here.
I don't see anywhere that an anti-teacher's union statement was made. But I do get upset when teachers, who don't live in Cheshire, get up at our budget meetings and ask for more money in the budget while they get their pay increases no matter what. Sit back and let the tax payers determine what we can and can't pay.

Anonymous said...

8:23 I hope you watched the meeting last night. Even the superintendent warned about not wanting groups from the band, sports, etc lining up asking that their programs are saved. And if you heard Brittingham, he asked that for those that come up to speak could they come with ideas and suggestions rather than just saying don't cut this or that.

Tony Perugini said...

As chairman of the BOE Finance Committee, I'll clearly state what we're looking for as far as input from the public:

- Ideas
- Suggestions

More than anything else, the best way I feel that the public can help and be part of the budget process is to dialogue about ideas and suggestions.

"Spend baby spend!!!" is great but how do we do it? How do we sustain it?

And while I appreciate and admire those folks that come up to the microphone to voice their support for program xyz, or teacher abc, etc. we really need input on how to go about keeping topic abc alive and well facing what we're all facing during this economic crisis.

All will be given an opportunity to speak but I will ask, initially, for ideas and suggestions.

To help foster this, I'm publishing as much as I can about the budget here to help inform folks. If you have question about the budget, please post it and I will do my best to get you a factual answer.

Tony Perugini