The Finance Commission will recommend a school budget of $20,760,280 for FY19 to the Town Council, this is an increase from $19,341,310 or a 7.3 percent increase.
At last Thursday night’s meeting of the commission Chairman Bob Wynne said an issue that he has had for a while is “there is no coordination between the School Department and the town when it comes to the budget.”
“The school puts together a needs or a wants budget that is so far out of line of what the town can do,” Wynne said, adding that the first budget was for a $2.3 million increase, then a $1.2 million and an $800,000 budget requests. “We do have other departments. I get frustrated. We go through this year in and year out and the results are the same. People get upset and say the schools aren’t being treated fairly.”
Councilor James Letterie, who is on the commission, said the schools can’t control the mandates that come down from the state. He was told there are five mandated positions in the school that added $250,000 to the budget.
“We have a school system that is under performing on SAT scores and does not have any type of curriculum person,” Letterie said. “I think they need certain things in their budget. I think $2.3 million was kind of crazy to go to that extreme.”
Letterie added that he wouldn’t be surprised if there were layoffs.
“In the end, the kids are the losers,” Letterie said. “I don’t think the money is there.”
“We could make a recommendation to pull from other town departments where new positions have been created in the last few years and say the money is better spent on schools,” said member Jan Twombly.