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Imagine that you had an old house with a paid up mortgage, however, it needed constant repairs, so the following year you buy a new home, albeit with a high mortgage. You decide to compare your new budget with your previous one, but you don’t include your new mortgage payments in the analysis.
This is exactly what is being done when comparing the operational year-to-year spending with the Clinton education budget. The key word is “operational,” which doesn’t include debt service and capital spending. When these are included, the year-to-year spending increases from the operational number of 0.93 percent to 2.78 percent, and this is despite an $834,841 savings from closing the Pierson School. In addition, any cost-per-student analysis comparing Clinton to other towns is only on the operational budget, clearly favoring those towns with higher debt service.
I am all for providing the highest quality education for our Clinton students, but having worked on hundreds of budgets, I can say unequivocally that any budget can be cut by five percent without any impact on the quality of services provided. It is not rocket science, but it is hard, time-consuming work. What is most required is the will to do it, which unfortunately is not there.
I encourage voters to reject the education budget, not to get worn done by small cuts, and not to pass it until there is a zero-percent increase.
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