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Citizens Alliance For Responsible Education


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Powerpoint Presentation by James Trifone Ph.D.
Cheshire Education Budget

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Citizens Alliance For Responsible Education

  1. 1. Can Cheshire Afford NOT to Responsibly Fund Its School Budget? Protect Our Two Largest Investments: Our Children & Our Real Estate Values
  2. 2. Cheshire #3 in Education Connecticut towns sized 25,000-50,000 people Harriman Real Estate on November 19, 2009 Connecticut Magazine
  3. 3. The Effect of a Good Cheshire School System on the Town A great school system is the foundation of Cheshire’s real-estate values Cheshire ranked in the top 100 in the best towns to live in the United States. (CNN Money, August 2009) A town resident said he paid $50,000 more for his house to live in Cheshire for the school system (Board of Education minutes, February 8, 2010)
  4. 4. How Successful Is Our K-12 Program? SAT Scores Cheshire State Average Difference MATH 549 504 +8% (#26/166) READING 531 502 +5% (#36/166) WRITING 527 503 +4.5% CMT & CAPT Scores: Among the top 20 of 166 Statewide Districts
  5. 5. How Your Child’s Education Funding Compares “ The state average for spending was $13,118 per student compared to Cheshire’s average of $11,553 per student”. Dr. Florio BOE Minutes, 01/07/10 Your child is allocated $1,565 Less than the State Average. Cheshire ranks 143th of 166 towns in Per Pupil Spending Cheshire ranks in the top 13% of towns in “Ability to Pay” “ Cheshire schools are efficient and productive. It shows we are lean and effective. It also means there is little room to reduce without impacting quality…” Dr. Florio, BOE Minutes, 01/14/10
  6. 6. Your Child’s Education Funding is Already a Good Deal With 4850 students (projected figure for 2010-11) Cheshire spends about $7.6 million per year less than the State average.
  7. 7. What Does it Mean to Responsibly Fund Education? “ It is our responsibility to make sure that the programs and services are in place to assure that every student will be successful …” Dr. Greg Florio, BOE minutes of 1/7/10
  8. 8. 2009-2010 Teacher Salaries Impact Town Council/Board of Education: Teachers receive a 4.4% increase. Reality: Near zero increase (+0. 4 %) in money spent on teacher salaries with the newly negotiated contract in place. 1. When one teacher retires, there is a 50% decrease in salary when replaced with a new teacher. 2. When one teacher retires, there is a 100% decrease in salary when NOT replaced with a new teacher. 3. Increased expenses were offset by attrition, retirements, or un-replaced positions
  9. 9. 2010-2011 Original Budget Proposal “This budget recommendation does not restore any of the almost seventeen teaching positions that were reduced in the 2009/10 budget, any support staff who were eliminated, or replenish accounts for supplies, materials and equipment that were cut”. Dr. Greg Florio’s presentation to the BOE 1/7/10
  10. 10. 2010-2011 Original Budget Proposal “ …it was also evident that prudent management during the “best of times” has placed Cheshire in a stronger position than most municipalities to weather the fiscal storm we face… Cheshire is well positioned to provide sound levels of service to its students and residents” Dr. Greg Florio’s presentation to the BOE 1/7/10
  11. 11. 2010-2011 Proposed Education Budget …“The recommended budget requests funds to support contracted increases for employees, services and special education. The budget maintains funding levels in most accounts at current levels, but reduces funding in several, such as supplies and textbooks.” Dr. Greg Florio’s presentation to the BOE 1/7/10
  12. 12. Why Cut The Education Budget in the First Place?
  13. 13. Why Cut $650,000? “…Mr. Sobol said he would not support this Motion [$650,000 cut] because it will eviscerate the school system and in addition, he would like to know where the $650,000 comes from. He said he cannot support this process any longer either and thinks the budget process is broken” Minutes of BOE February 4, 2010
  14. 14. Why Cut $650,000? “Mr. Massey reviewed the Board’s duties per state statute, noting that the Board shall maintain ‘good’ public elementary and secondary schools…He doesn’t know if we are ‘good’ with that many staff reductions…He feels it would put the Board in a place where they are not doing their legal job.” Minutes from BOE meeting, 02/08/2010
  15. 15. Why Cut $650,000? “Mr. Mrowka already said that this is a bare- boned budget without further reductions.” Minutes from BOE meeting, 02/08/2010
  16. 16. Why Cut $650,000? “That motion proposed a $650,000 reduction to Florio's budget, …was based on the assumption of union concessions.” Cheshire Herald, February 15, 2010
  17. 17. Impact of Budget Cuts “Further staffing reductions would or require wholesale changes, and / devastate class sizes or the elimination of programs. Options would have to include programmatic reduction such as: Academically Gifted program reductions in the instrumental music program elimination of electives at Cheshire High School in departments such as Business or Technology Education reductions to support service areas including guidance or other counseling services. (continued) Dr. Greg Florio’s Budget Proposal to B.O.E. 1/07/10
  18. 18. Impact of the Budget Cuts “…None of these options are good ones, nor does a community that has high expectations for its school and its students desire them.” Dr. Greg Florio’s Budget Proposal to B.O.E. 1/07/10
  19. 19. What Happened? On a 4-3 vote, the BOE cut $950,000.
  20. 20. Shared Sacrifice Teachers agreed to: the Board of Education’s 3 year contract term an increased percent share of health insurance premiums increased co-pays higher deductibles higher prescription drug costs Neither the teachers nor the Board pursued binding arbitration
  21. 21. Shared Sacrifice “The BOE has done a good diligence to get this negotiated number [insurance premium] up high. Cheshire teachers are paying the highest percentage across the State.” Town Council minutes, 02/24/2009
  22. 22. Shared Sacrifice Shelton’s teacher union offered a full day and a half of pay as a “loan”. “Walsh (BOE chair for Shelton) expressed deep gratitude to all the unions who worked with the board in helping resolve the current deficit, without slashing people’s jobs.”-New Haven Register, December 22, 2009
  23. 23. Shared Sacrifice Cheshire teachers offered three days of pay as an interest -free “loan” to the Board of Education. “This isn’t shared sacrifice,” he [Brittingham] said “Deferments? That’s not sacrifice. That’s an insult to taxpayers.”- Meriden Record Journal, March 10, 2010 Cheshire teachers are also considering an alternative healthcare benefit plan to reduce costs
  24. 24. As the Budget Stands Now “Milone said last year’s budget increase was the lowest in the past 20 years, and this year’s increase represents the second lowest increase.” Cheshire Herald, March 11, 2010 “Milone explained that there would be between *$5.9 and $6.4 million in reserve accounts, as well as **$8.6 million in the Rainy Day Fund”. *Cheshire Herald, December 17, 2009, ** Cheshire Herald, March 11, 2010
  25. 25. What Now? Council budget Committee Chairman David Schrumm, …said he anticipates reducing the final education budget”. Record Journal 03/15/10 [BOE Chairman] “Brittingham said he had been told by Councilman David Schrumm…that the board would get a zero increase or close to it”…In a worst case scenario “Brittingham said school officials will be forced to consider a series of drastic budget cuts…Among the options…are: Closing of Chapman elementary school Elimination of department heads 25% reduction in positions with a stipend (e.g. coaching, club & class advisors) 20% budget cut for all extra-curricular activities (e.g. athletics, band) New Haven Register 03/15/10
  26. 26. As the Budget Stands Now Using Mr. Milone’s figures (Cheshire Herald, March 11, 2010), if the BOE’S budget proposal were to be adopted, the average tax increase/household would be: $158 a year HOWEVER IF The Town Council restored $475K of the BOE’s $950K reduction they could use 5.5% of the money from the Rainy Day Fund. This would mean the average tax increase/household would be about: $4 more/month
  27. 27. What Now? “In ten years, never once has a budget come back from the Town Council uncut.” Kathy Hellreich, former BOE member, Minutes from BOE meeting, 02/08/2010 “…According to CABE, the Board’s role is ‘adopting, advocating for, and overseeing a school budget which is responsive to the district goals and meets the needs of all students.’” Tom Scarice [Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, Weston Public Schools] and resident of Cheshire, Minutes from BOE meeting, 02/08/2010
  28. 28. What Now? “…People should be told about the budget, the mill rate, and be honest about what services will be cut…This should be done outside of the budget process, and on an ongoing basis…”. Justin Adinolfi, Town Councilor & Member of the Board of Directors for Cheshire Education Fund, Town Council minutes March 18th, 2010 “ …the CRRA contract expires in June 2010, and Cheshire will receive its distribution of $3.5 to 4.5 million from the reserve account. The Town Council will decide on how to use these funds when it comes in next fiscal year”. Michael Milone, Town Council minutes March 18th, 2010
  29. 29. #3 in Education Connecticut towns sized 25,000-50,000 people Harriman Real Estate on November 19, 2009 Connecticut Magazine Where will we rank next year?
  30. 30. What Now? “ It solves no problems to exclude parents and the public from important decisions about education policy or to disregard the educators who work with students daily. Public education is a vital institution in our democratic society, and its governance must be democratic, open to public discussion and public participation” Diane Ravitch, The Death and Life of the Great American School System
  31. 31. Questions to Ask Your Elected Officials 1. What are the legitimate and ethical reasons for reducing Dr. Florio’s proposed 2010-2011 Budget proposal? 2. How can we balance budgetary demands with the needs of responsibly funding our educational programs? 3. What are the long term effects of our town’s present philosophy & rationale for funding education? 4. What are the long-term effects of the proposed budget cut to our two greatest investments: our children’s future & the value of our real estate?
  32. 32. What Can We Do? This is YOUR town, YOUR School system, YOUR tax dollars YOU deserve ANSWERS not rhetoric and hyperbole Please join us in requesting our elected officials to DO THE RIGHT THING Tell Our Elected Officials to Responsibly Fund Our School Programs