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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Milford officials fret over budget timing

By Brian McCready
Milford Bureau Chief
— Top Board of Education and school officials say they are worried the final budget for 2008-09 will be approved too late to retain current first-year teachers or to help recruit the best candidates for necessary positions.
School board Chairman David Hourigan, D-4, told board members Monday night that the Board of Aldermen may not vote on the school budget until May 29, which would put the school board in a “bad situation” because it then would be hard to “hire people.”
School officials are anxiously awaiting aldermanic action on the district’s budget. The Board of Finance in March reduced the school board’s proposed budget for next fiscal year by $2.1 million, from $82.9 million to $80.8 million. Polansky has said to maintain the same level of services for next year would require a 5.4 percent increase in spending.
After the Finance Board reduced the school board’s budget increase from a proposed 6.4 percent to 3.7 percent, Polansky said the district would have to reduce staff and programs. Also fanning the flames were the layoff notices sent to 180 non-tenured teachers, which occurred following cuts to proposed spending.
School officials are lobbying aldermen to reinstate at least $1.3 million to the budget, which would ensure current services are maintained. Some Democratic aldermen have expressed a willingness to reinstate $1.3 million, but because it would require a two-thirds majority vote, at least one Republican would have to support such a measure.
Hourigan said the “major hardship” is on the 180 teachers who received their layoff notices.
“It’s a very stressful time for them,” Hourigan said. “It leaves them hemming and hawing about whether to look for jobs elsewhere or to take jobs elsewhere.”
He also said it’s difficult for the district to recruit new teachers for shortage areas such as special education and world language.
Aldermanic Chairman Ben Blake, D-5, said aldermen would begin budget deliberations Monday, and also have scheduled meetings May 21, 27 and 29. Blake said he hopes the budget will be wrapped up May 21, but the school portion is the last item to be addressed.
All meetings will begin at 7 p.m. at City Hall.
Blake declined to say definitively whether all nine Democrats support reinstating money requested by the school board.
“The Democrats are looking to strike the right balance that meets the needs of our school children and the remainder of our taxpayers,” Blake said. “We’ve addressed some of the needs of our senior citizens through additional tax relief.”
Alderman Scott Willey, R-4, said he would advocate for the school budget to be the first line item reviewed.
He said it makes sense since the Democrats are discussing reinstating funds, and it can lay a foundation for the rest of the budget.
Willey declined to comment on whether Republicans would support reinstating proposed education spending, but he again said it was Democrats who promised during the recent election to cut taxes.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Alderman/women need and must stand firm on the Education budget. Not only are Milford Costs out of control - they must also consider other higher costs we are now paying for food and gas. We are currently paying taxes on our homes that are not even worth the assesed costsvalues - what is going to happen if when assesed again - and let's home this time it is done timely - and prop. values are down. I guess just increase the mill rate -
Interesting show the other day on Education costs in CT. Jim Aman was on the panel - nothing special from him. Others did agree costs were out of control and that there was alot of WASTE in the budgets.
Why is it that pvt schools and magnet schools can do a better job on less? Dr Polansky and the BOE need to look at what is going on in the world and this state and start being creative - Is this POSSIBLE? Probably not

May 18, 2008 at 8:41 AM 
Anonymous The Scarlet Pimpernel said...

Agree. Gas is over $4.00 per gal., electricity is up 50%, water co. up 30%, food (due to ethanol and bio-deasil) is expected to rise 25% - 30%. Insurence from work is up, taxes are up and on and on. Let's also consider that many have had little to no increase in salary/pay or they have just lost their job. EVERYONE needs to tighten their belts and do their share to "cut" the burden.

May 19, 2008 at 8:40 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read today that the Alderman/women want to increase the School Budget - and they made heavy cuts to the City side of the Budget.
Once again the residents with out students/children in the school system are getting the back end of the stick. I bet the school budget could be cut even more! These people need to understand this is a business - and the well has run dry!
No More Money for the SCHOOLS!!!

May 20, 2008 at 12:08 PM 
Anonymous The Scarlet Pimpernel said...

Vote for Independants in the next election. Seems our Dems. forgot what they are there fpor and the Repubs. just sit and watch them, which is also not their job. Vote'm all out next term. Every last one of them

May 22, 2008 at 10:14 AM 

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