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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Schools budget proposal calls for 6.3% increase

By Brian McCready
Milford Bureau Chief
— Superintendent of Schools Harvey B. Polansky is proposing a 6.39 percent budget increase from this year’s $78 million spending plan.
"No one is happy with my budget. Nobody," declared Polansky to Board of Education members Monday night and a room full of 50 administrators, parents and residents.
Polansky, seen at right in a 2007 photo, is proposing an $82.9 million budget for fiscal 2008-09, which is a $4.97 million increase.
Polansky said to ensure the same level of services requires a 5.46 percent increase, and that is contingent on special education needs not changing.
The superintendent said he cut $10 million from the initial budget submitted by administrators from the 15 schools.
"People say that is a wish list," Polansky said. "The educators are not happy. The taxpayers are probably not happy either with the 6.3 percent."
Alderman James Patterson, D-1, who attended the meeting, said at first glance a 6 percent budget increase is not likely to be supported.
"Six percent is quite high," Patterson said. "I don’t see 6 percent going through. It will be a tough sell."
The budget increase, Polansky said, is being driven largely by an arbitration award that gave teachers on average a 4.99 percent raise.
Of the $4.9 million increase, $2.48 million is due to the arbitrated and negotiated salary settlements.
Also, the district lost $230,000 in federal funds for a Title 1 position, which Polansky is hoping to fund in the operating budget.
Those positions include one math and three reading teachers, four paraprofessionals and one remedial paraprofessional.
The budget increase is also attributable to escalating costs of oil, $166,150; gasoline, $74,920; transportation, $400,000; and other special education mandates, $282,000.
Polansky said special education costs alone have spiked 9 percent.
A new program Polansky is hoping to fund includes an extended day alternative education program, which would give students who are not performing well an opportunity to improve their grades.
The program would be housed at "The Academy" on Gulf Street and cost $146,659.
Polansky defended his budget, saying the increase is comparable to those in other communities.
"It’s not out of line with other schools," school board Chairman David Hourigan, D-4, said of Polansky’s proposed budget.
Hourigan said that Trumbull, Monroe and Seymour school administrators are all seeking similar budget increases.
"There is not a lot of discretion in this budget," Polansky said. "I’m trying to be sensitive to the taxpayers while maintaining the rich reputation the school system enjoys."
The school board will vote on its budget at 7 p.m. Jan. 22 at the Parsons Government Center, Board of Education room.
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Anonymous Boston Tea Party needed in Milford said...

When/where does it end? The math does not work but we keep on increasing the school budget. The budget requires more in taxes from the people and more development so more people come in, then more kids go to school so more taxes etc etc etc. Why is it all the rest of us not on the public dole, that is not working for the city or state, get social security and that amounts to maybe 30% of gross pay if we are lucky and these blokes are getting 70% to 100% pensions and benefits for life? The math does not work and it needs to change. This is a nation wide problem. Look at NJ, now their going to rape highway drivers in super tolls with automatic 2yr increases. You hear the city leaders and superintendent say, we have contracts and we must make these pay increases and we have pension obligations etc. Well who made these god awful contracts? Where is the voice of the people, the good working people of the community, in these decisions? Now we get 30% and in retirement the city and state wants to forever increase our taxes to fund other peoples pensions that are not reasonable when compared to all the rest of the working people in the country? Don't look to Washington to set an example, those thieves (your good US Senators and Congressmen), get 100% pensions and benefits for life if elected just once! You think their going to fix this problem. The city, state, and federal workers are not part of SSI for a reason, they built a better system for themselves on our backs. In in effect makes us like sort of indentured servants, working so they can have a better life style in retirement. I have to give the Teachers Unions credit, they have done this across the nation so it almost makes it impossible to escape it, it is sort of a communist redistribution of wealth to the leftist elite. When/where does it end?

January 16, 2008 at 10:44 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Again with this education budget increase...every year same thing...does no one in the education department know how to cut back when things are tight?  Ask anyone in Milford, we all know how to do that...must be something wrong in Board of Ed.  Some possible budget saving ideas got killed; e.g., the small fee for sports.  Explain to me why parents (and my kids played sports in HS in Milford) cannot affort a measly $100/season for their child to play a sport?  These are the same parents who buy their kids cell phones, cars, every new video game and cartridge imagineable, MP3 players, newest fad clothes, etc.  Yet they can't afford $100/season for thier child to play a sport???  I'm a single parent, and I know that if I were asked to pay $100 for my children to play a sport (and they played football and softball -- championship softball team), I would have found a way.  That's a small price to pay in this economy, especially if it would help keep taxes down.  Many of these are the same parents who have their children on travel teams in the summer where costs are child also played travel softball, and I never considered asking for help for those was mine and her choice, and I found a way.  Stop catering to the whiners...On another matter, why do we not ask parents of children in Advanced Placement classes in the high school to pay a small fee for the class?  If the child passes the class, they are getting college credits that will save parents quite a bit in college tuition.  Yet, the Board of Ed never thinks of charging the parents a small fee for this potential college savings.  I would suspect that if a child were in Advanced Placement classes that their parents had to pay for (a small fee -- not the equivalent of college cost for a class), then the child and the parent would have a greater incentive to have the child do well in that class.  Our children need to know there is a cost for privileges...they'll learn soon enough when they get into the "real world." 

Finally, every time an education increase is requested, there is always the cry "our children's education will suffer if we dont' get this." Well, that's the classic "appeal to fear," and has been used by advertisers for years. It's a will be fine, but the "perks" may what. We're in hard times and everyone has to cut back to survive. Our children will receive a wonderful education anyway, and everyone knows that. Seems like only folks who don't suffer are the educators and administrators (and I think we have too many administrators). Everyone in the the real world know we are all being asked to take on more work for same salary...but not the educators or administrators. Everytime someone tries to add an additional task, they go running to the union... Give me a break -- grow up and realize where you are and what your responsibilities are. Those responsibilities are to education our children (a responsibility you took on voluntarily), and if you have to do an additional task or two, just do it, and get the job done.

Enough said...obviously, I'm fed up with this nonsense...citizens of Milford need to wake up. Someone in our government needs to take fiscal responsiblity and just say "no" this year, or at least make everyone in the Board of Ed and education system accountable to what they spend.

Thanks for listening.

January 17, 2008 at 9:13 AM 
Anonymous PT said...

Here we go again...

a) Proposed 6.3% increase a "trimmed figure" from School Superintendent
b) BOE will automatically insist they will have to cut atheletic programs with any more cuts
c) BOE will cry most of increases caused by contractual labor agreements beyond their control
d) Educators will scream about class sizes
e) Parents and teachers will play the "emotional" card by dragging children to demonstrate at BOA meeting
f) Some small concessions will be made and a budget passed
g) Teachers, parents, and the "Corps of Administrators" will all be unhappy.....and we will move on.

There is an old adage..."Don't expect different results if you do the same thing"

As long as the BOE does not have to answer to the budget on a line item basis...there can be no true review. As long as there are "educators" (or former educators) negotiating the infamous contractual labor agreements with teachers it smells of potential improprieties. The school budget consumes the lion's share of the taxpayers money yet, by design, it allows for the least amount of true review and input outside the realm of the BOE and school administrators. Hhmm...That's a nice system of checks and balances. Perhaps it is time to look at the process in a more business like manner. I know there are some very caring and capable people in our education system and I aplaud them for their dedication and efforts...but it is time to look at the entire process with real and detailed input and assistance from sources outside the school administrators and BOE.

January 17, 2008 at 9:58 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about we try something novel like: HOLD THE LINE ON SPENDING! or CUT EXPENSES or HAVE THE PARENTS PAY SOMETHING TOWARD THIER CHILD"S EDUCATION. I have not had a child in school for 20 years yet my taxes have more than tripled and still they plead for more funding. ENOUGH!!! I am reaching the point where I cannot afford to educate YOUR child.

January 17, 2008 at 7:33 PM 
Anonymous Sick of the Teachers said...

How can we change the charter to give these decisions back to the voting tax paying public? Right now they say they need it and we just go ahead and have to pay it. Lets change it, if we vote no then lay a few teachers off, it is skewed to far out of line now, it has got to stop!

January 18, 2008 at 12:15 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This budget should cut by atleast 20%. My god there are only 7500 kids in this school system. $85,000,000. Why are the people of milford leting this spending spiral out of control. over $ 11,000 per kid.this is crazy. private schools are less expensive w/ a better education.

does anyone know that are superintendent of schools gets paid more than over 35 of our countries 50 governors. principals paid over $100,000. dozens, and dozens if not hundreds of municipal employees getting paid $70,000, $80,000 and more.

My god there are only 53,000 people that live here in Milford. you can fit everyone in shea stadium.

Its so out of control, i don't know if we can stop it now, unless thousands of people start going to the town hall.

I urge all citizens of milford to call the mayors office 783-3210, and get a copy of the 07-08 won't belive the salaries. 117 firemen?????? Is the city burning down. a 50% volunteer 50% paid can do just as good a job. 6 Battalion chiefs? Whats going on?

An $800,000 budget for the library?

People if you really want to get mad. get a copy of the pensions that are paid out in this city. REMEMBER a city of 53,000 people

January 18, 2008 at 9:53 AM 

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