Board of Ed member questions additional cuts to budget
To the Editor:
Recently the New Milford Town Council decided to add another $800,000 cut (in addition to the already $600,000 reduction by the mayor) to the Board of Education budget, bringing the total cut to $1.4 million.
They felt the total increase of 3.8 percent for both budgets (town and school) was too high.
One would think that when the Town Council cuts funding, the percent increase for the budgets will go down and give tax relief. But no, the percent increase is still 3.8 percent. There will be no tax relief directly to the community.
So in this era of transparency, I have two questions for these five members who felt the need to cut this chunk of money from the schools and our students with no tax relief.
First, what was the purpose or goal of cutting almost 1 percent of the school budget?
Second, more importantly, where will it go? Will it go to fund positions added to the town side? Will it go to an unassigned fund balance to be used on a rainy day?
Superintendent of Schools Josh Smith presented to the Board of Education a budget that had eliminated eight positions for next year, as well as not restoring the state’s cut to this year’s budget. So he presented a fair budget (2.4 percent) compared to our surrounding districts which were coming in at over 4 percent.
The Board of Education understands that we have to invest in our students to ensure an investment to our nation’s future. We take it seriously and understand the financial implications.
But I guess those five folks on Town Council think that $800,000 is not a good investment in our student’s future. Nor is the mayor’s $600,000 cut.
When the cut was passed by five Town Council members, one member of the council stated the BOE members are smart enough to make these cuts without impacting programs.
Well, we may be smart enough to deal with these cuts but we would have to be magicians to not cut anything that impacts programs. So these five council members and the mayor have decided for the people of New Milford that they know what is best for you.
They will bring the Board of Education budget to zero increase and programs will be lost. The property values will go down since families who have young children will want to move to a town that supports education.
I always believed in democracy, that the people have a voice in their future. The Board of Education brought a fair budget to this town, especially comparing it to the school budgets of other towns.
The mayor, Town Council and Board of Finance should trust the hard work the entire staff put into developing the budget and the four nights the Board of Education spent going over every line item to make sure it was as lean as it can be.
I just wonder what is the purpose of the $800,000 cut and where will the money go if not to reduce taxes?
Board of Education member