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Article Published May 1, 2019
Capitalize on Cost Savings
James Connolly

Clinton voters deserve the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about the proposed 2020 education budget. On April 18, the Harbor News published a letter from Shelby Auletta [“Students and Teachers Don’t Disappear”] that referred to page 50 of the Clinton Public Schools Board of Education Approved Budget. This only reflects $475,170 savings from the Pierson cost center. Page 49 of the budget includes additional Pierson closing savings from employee benefits, utilities, maintenance, and insurance from the District-wide and Maintenance cost centers, which altogether add up to $834,841. On top of the 2018 operating surplus of $688,224, the 2019 Education operating budget added $478,238 even after two budget defeats shaved $479,267 from the budget thanks to Board of Finance cuts.

From 2015 to 2018, State Education Cost Sharing Grants (ECSGs) to Clinton declined $1,074,485. Governor Ned Lamont’s proposal for 2020 is a cut in ECSGs of $750,439.

We do not yet know the amount of Clinton’s State 2020 Minimum Budget Requirement (MBR), but according to Kevin Chambers in the State Department of Education, we know that the 2019 MBR is $31,530,261 or $1,126,413 less than the 2019 education operating budget.

Clinton must capitalize on the cost savings from closing Pierson, the history of inflated budgets and surpluses, the knowledge of reduced state funding, and much lower MBR mandates to bring down the education operating budget enough to at least offset some of the $532,118 increase in debt service, the $148,971 increase in capital expenses, and the threatened $750,439 cut in state aid. Instead of a $304,812 operating budget increase, it should be reasonably come down $1 million instead. I encourage your readers to vote “No” on May 8 and every subsequent referendum until the Board of Finance recommends a reasonable 2020 education operating budget.

James Connolly