by Kevin Ford
Before anyone goes off half cocked about the education budget I’d make sure I actually knew the facts. When we agreed on that contract with the WAT on 22 Oct 08 we had arguably (clearly even) the most aggressively negotiated contract in the state. For all those enamored with Colchester I’d take a look at the following quote from the article:
“The school budget would grow by 1.55 percent…”
They still didn’t come in at a 0% increase like we did and that’s OK, they are not exactly rolling in money either. Having said that, for those of you praising Colchester and complaining about the Woodstock teacher’s raise I think you should ask yourself why you are more concerned with that than the bottom line. Or goal is to come up with an effective budget that satisfies the needs of the students while taking into account our fiscal constraints. What it is not is to cut the teacher’s increases. That type of request may be a means to an end in certain circumstances but it should never be, in and of itself, an end.
While we are on that topic, I went to the mat for the BOF this season calling for asking the teacher’s to not take an increase when things were looking bad. The BOF has asked us in writing for a very aggressive budget many of the members of the BOE were willing to work with them. That was January-March when we had the time to do something. But things worked out and we were able to meet the BOF’s request without major cuts. But some things happened in the last month:
- In the 26 March 09 meeting we found out the Woodstock Academy lowered their per student tuition for 2.66% to 1.99%, resulting in a $33,263 savings. Frank Cordon and I were just about high fiving each other thinking that we could restore fully funded sports. But later that meeting we were informed:
- Three new SPED students moved to town, at least one of them out placed. This cost us $30,000+ for the remainder of this year, much less what it will do next year. So much for fully funded sports.
- In the 29 Apr 09 meeting we found out that the BOF reneged on their earlier request and asked for further cuts. They assigned about 75% of them to the BOE or $90,000.
- We also got the results of our insurance bidding. As it turns out despite the standardized plan it was still less expensive to self insure. However, after the bidding it will cost us $50,000 less than anticipated so we only need to come up with $40,000 more in cuts.
- We also found out that the transportation supervisor retired and is working on a part time basis. This will save us an additional $21,901.
- The rest came from student supplies, the bus radio and office supplies. The supplies per student are now down to $31.40/student. Read the rest of this entry »