Another Spin of the Wheel

11Mar11

The Council Gets a Spin

Last week the Board of Education submitted its proposed budget for 2011-2012. It contained a 1.77% increase over the current budget. It has been promptly rejected by Mayor Harkins who insists on a zero increase BOE budget. Since the entire RTC controlled Town Council is up for re-election in November, the zero increase demand will probably stand. It remains to be seen whether or not the Town budget projects a zero per cent increase. (It is not likely).

So once again, we are confronted with some serious cuts in educational services to achieve a $1.7 million cut in the budget. Get ready for teacher layoffs, pay for play sports and possible school closings.

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28 Responses to “Another Spin of the Wheel”

  1. 1 jezebel282

    Update:

    Stratford backs off on school closure after $1M budget hike
    Brittany Lyte, Staff Writer
    Updated 11:31 p.m., Friday, March 11, 2011

    STRATFORD — The closure of one or more elementary schools in town was pushed back on the table Friday morning, and by late afternoon had been pulled off again, as town leaders preened a budget proposal for fiscal year 2011-12.

    At 11:56 a.m. Friday, 24 members of the Parent Teacher Student Association received an e-mail signed by acting Superintendent Irene Cornish that read: “Dear PTA Council Members: We learned today that the Mayor is giving us a zero percent increase for 2011/12. We now have to find 1.7 million dollars which will likely result in at least one school being closed.”
    Read more: http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Stratford-backs-off-on-school-closure-after-1M-1084425.php#ixzz1GOAgU5nk

    Yet again, you heard it here first.

  2. 2 phineast

    the reduction of 7-8 administrative positions would have taken care of the million dollars. seems the boe should consider some staff reductions before threatening to close schools.

  3. 3 jezebel282

    Phin,

    “the reduction of 7-8 administrative positions ”

    The reduction of a couple of Town Attorneys would’ve done it too.

  4. 4 phineast

    ahhh, true-but that is not in the BOE budget-unless you are talking about the ones that represent the BOE-maybe they should do both and save the 1.7 million totally! Taxpayers could sure use a zero increase that is a real one not a delay scam like Miron did.

  5. 5 phineast

    Just wondering-where did the BOE pull money out of to hire the consultant for the study the committee recommended? Spare change lying around?

  6. 6 1george1

    Are readers aware the town + boe get FREE HEALTHCARE?

    If $ 3000 paid deductable to all BoE + Town personnel
    with Health care for 2 or more, and $ 1500 paid deductable
    to all BoE + Town personnel with Health care for singles,
    was eliminated, it would save over $ 3 million.

    Last year’s BoE had $ 5,000 paid deductable to more than
    a couple and was almost $ 3 million there with $ 3,000 to
    couple and $ 1,500 to individual.

    There are also 3 inflated prices for Health Care, with plenty
    of room for finders fees.

    The covered people have their 13 % share of premium covered
    by the tax free deductable ($ 1,500 for one covers lower gross)

    Meanwhile a few of JEZE’S favorite targets get their people to sell
    insurance, fire trucks, consulting, legal, and more.

  7. 7 jezebel282

    George!

    “Are readers aware the town + boe get FREE HEALTHCARE?”

    I am unaware of anyone that works for the Town of Stratford that gets free healthcare. Care to identify some of the lucky winners?

  8. 8 1george1

    $ 22,000 – 13% or $ 2,800 = $ 19, 200 + $ 3,000 = $ 22,200

    Everyone in Town or BoE who has Health Care gets a free ride by
    adding $ 3,000 (FAMILY/COUPLE) or $ 1,500 (SINGLE-lower gross)
    after substracting 13 % from the repective plans GROSS PREMIUM.

    In the above hypothetical I rounded the gross cost up a couple
    hundred = $ 22,000 for GROSS PREMIUM

    The $ 3,000 or $ 1,500 paid deductable are TAX FREE hidden pay raise
    higher than the 13 % paid by the employee of manager.

    I wonder what the finders fees are for HSA HIGHER than private industry?

    – 831 covered in BoE + 450 ? Town employees + 300 / 400 retired
    The pool approaches 2,000 insured

    i suspect there are a few free rounds on a certain course?

    JEZE = Prove me wrong?

    Or do I POST “Bored of Education” emails, reordered?

    JEZE = YOU of all people KNOW this is TRUE!

  9. 9 1george1

    Stratford Board of Education
    FY 2010 – 2011

    SALARIES – – – – $ 45,051,244
    BENEFITS – – – – $ 26,404,724

    Stratford Town
    2010 – 2011
    BENEFITS – – – – $ 34,309,599

  10. 10 1george1

    Stratford Board of Education
    FY 2010 – 2011

    SALARIES – – – – $ 45,051,244
    BENEFITS – – – – $ 26,404,724

    Stratford Town
    FY 2010 – 2011

    MUNICIPAL – – – $ 61,882,060
    Capital Debt – – $ 11,344,289
    Pension Bene – $ 19,650371
    EDUCATION – – -$ 92,402,182

    Of Municipal – – – – – – – – $ 61,882,060
    Subtract BENEFITS – – – – $ 34,309,599

    ——————————— $ 27,572,461 Actual cost to run Stratford?
    except for education + benefits + debt
    I could be wrong on this one point, mixing items?
    Perhaps I need to add $ 19.65 million, because it might be in $ 3.309 m?

    The Website Budget does not break down certain important #s
    in easy to find cross referencing.

    Maybe I a wrong:
    > BoE does not break down benefits

    > BoE does not show 4 + separate pay increases + revenue benefits
    Step + COLA + Negotiated + paid deductables + pension

    > Police + Fire do not show 34separate pay increases + revenue benefits
    Step + COLA + Negotiated + paid deductables + 401 + annuity + pension

    MUNICIPAL BENEFITS – – – – $ 34,309,599
    EDUCATION BENEFITS – – – $ 26,404,724

    Actual cost of Town + Boe Benefits $ 60,714,323

    Total approved BUDGET – – – – – – – – $ 185,278,902

    Benefits are just under 1/3 rd of entire Budget

  11. 11 jezebel282

    George,

    “JEZE = YOU of all people KNOW this is TRUE!”

    Me of all people?
    What I do know is that for most members of the BOE (teachers, custodians, etc) is that they do not enjoy free health insurance. I also know of other full-time employees that are paid so little that they can’t afford the premiums and do not participate at all and instead rely on Huskie for their children. I also know that when Connecticare raises premiums by 57% it comes out of everyone’s pockets (including employees) and goes right into Connecticare’s bank account.

    You may be correct about administrators but it’s not like they have anything to complain about.

    “BoE does not break down benefits”
    Benefits are not the same for different groups. Teachers vs custodians, for example, have different contribution levels.

    In addition, your math is somewhat off. Any organization that employs more than 50 people MUST provide healthcare. That would be your baseline not zero benefits. The Town and/or BOE are required to offer benefits. How they go about negotiating those benefits is another story. But you’d have to ask Ben Branyan about that one.

  12. 12 1george1

    JEZE: I suspect your post is speculation. I have FACTS documented.

    I asked Ben Branyan + Mike Feeney.

    The Boe + Town pay 12 % to 14 % of
    OPTION A – 3 or more + $ 3,000
    OPTION B – 2 or more + $ 3,000
    OPTION C – Individual + $ 1,500

    Option “B” is less than twice the Gross Premium as Option “A”
    Option “C” is less then thrice the Gross Premium as Option “A.”

    I also have the exact count of 840 or 839 people in BoE plans.
    (if I remember the December information, correctly?)

    Wait? If you have the exact counts how can there be either 840
    or 839?

    Those were the two different numbers with documented numbers
    in each respective plan and broken down by unit.

    =================

    JEZE: What I do know is that for most members of the BOE
    (teachers, custodians, etc) is that they do not enjoy
    free health insurance.

    GEO: Each pays between 12 % to 14 % of the Gross Premium.
    Then they get paid deductable (as noted/per plan)
    The deductable is MORE than the 12 % to 14 %,

    ===================

    JEZE: I also know of other full-time employees that are paid so little

    GEO: Compared to senior Town + BoE people = true.
    Compared to upper and upper middle income private sector = true
    NOT TRUE compared to social security, much fix/low/mid income!

    =

    JEZE: that they can’t afford the premiums and do not participate
    at all and instead rely on Huskie for their children.

    GEO: I do not know to be true or untrue.
    I do have facts which show Town + BoE get deductable offsetting
    12 % – 14 %.
    I do not know if there are bargaining unit personnel excluded from …

    ===

    JEZE: I also know that when Connecticare raises premiums by 57% it
    comes out of everyone’s pockets (including employees) and goes
    right into Connecticare’s bank account.

    GEO: Not all of it, JEZE. Some goes to Dodd, Lieberman, Blumenthal,
    Malloy / Rell, Harkins / Hoydic, Dibicella / Kelly, Backer, Miller, etc.

    Much goes to the specific Agents who sell the program with some
    which “might” go to “finders fees,” local fund raisers, gratuities, and
    professional services …. 😦 😉

    You may be correct about administrators but it’s not like they have anything to complain about.

  13. 13 jezebel282

    George,

    “JEZE: that they can’t afford the premiums and do not participate
    at all and instead rely on Huskie for their children.

    GEO: I do not know to be true or untrue.”

    My suggestion would be to find out if it is true or not before you accuse people of getting a “free ride”.

    “The Boe + Town pay 12 % to 14 % of
    OPTION A – 3 or more + $ 3,000
    OPTION B – 2 or more + $ 3,000
    OPTION C – Individual + $ 1,500”
    GEO: Each pays between 12 % to 14 % of the Gross Premium.
    Then they get paid deductable (as noted/per plan)
    The deductable is MORE than the 12 % to 14 %,

    On it’s face, that makes no sense whatsoever. The deductible is more than the premium?

    And I don’t think anyone on the Town side is offered an HSA.
    From another perspective, if (most) employees had to come up with $3,000 in cash before they received any coverage for anything you would find very few that could afford to get medical care or medications. As far as I know, no one “get’s paid” the deductible as you claim. It is in a separate HSA account which is a huge PITA for the healthcare provider and the patient.

    In the end, I am not particularly in favor of an HSA account or a standard POS plan. What I am in favor of is an affordable plan that gets teachers, cops, firefighters and PW workers back on the job as quickly as possible to avoid overtime (or substitute teachers). Of course, a single payer system would alleviate that problem, but that is another topic, isn’t it?

  14. 14 1george1

    JEZE: On it’s face, that makes no sense whatsoever.
    The deductible is more than the premium?

    GEO: Exactly my point.
    However:
    “This is Stratford!”

    ======================

    JEZE: “JEZE: that they can’t afford the premiums and do not
    participate at all and instead rely on Huskie for their children.

    GEO: I do not know to be true or untrue.”

    My suggestion would be to find out if it is true or not before you
    accuse people of getting a “free ride”.

    GEO: I know what is TRUE of the vast majority of BoE and Town Workers.
    I also know the PAY RANGES of ALL Town and BoE Workers.

    I do not know what their specific INDIVIDUAL OVER HEAD is per person.

    People making over $ 100,000 a year may not be able to afford a PLAN
    other than something like the HUSKY plan?

    INCOME is not the sole determination of affordability, when EXPENSES
    EXCEEED INCOME! It becomes PRIORITIES!

    Check your mail box for an email with attachment.
    The attachment needs to be read, starting from the bottom to top,
    as the email exchange is in reverse CHRON Order

  15. 15 jezebel282

    George,

    “People making over $ 100,000 a year may not be able to afford a PLAN
    other than something like the HUSKY plan?”

    My point is that there are many in the BOE that make less than half of that. Be careful with that broad brush of yours.

  16. 16 1george1

    30 administrators and almost 200 teachers make over $ 88,000 annually.

    I favor raising the lowest and lowering the highest.
    I would have no problem arranging for TAX FREE compensation,
    especially to the lowest, if there were responsible quid pro quo.

    JEZE

    What are the AVERAGE and MEAN INCOMES of the PUBLIC?

    What percent of the BoE are below those $$ ## s?

    And then are there ANY, after BENEFITS are factored?

    I favor raising the lowest and lowering the highest.

    OUR ENEMY are the BIG WAR + DRUGS + CRIME + PETRO.

    They like pitting worker vs management
    Public Sector vs Private Sector.

    I always include outside of local in my letters to the editor,
    which is difficult to maintain because there are SOOOO MANY
    LIARS, THEIVES, and CHEATS locally, of which too many you defend
    very staunchly with blinders on, same as Sylvia, who came to
    recognize not everyone was they way she wanted to believe.

    Conversely, many of the people you believe in also believe the LIES
    that work to their benefit and do not have much better understanding
    about civics and the Budget than most people.

    Then there are OUT RIGHT LIARS, including POLICE + FIRE and NOT
    JUST BURTURLA and MIRON or KELLY / Be “UTTER NUTS.”

    There is honor among theives as they feel they have to pay off,
    those who arranged for their pay offs.

    I and others had legitimate decent pensions, which could be defended
    and were earned or were close to being cost justifiable.
    Their GREED broke the system

    Social Security will go from 62 to 70.
    Then where, as I see 80 year olds working as grocery cashiers?

  17. 17 phineast

    The average American “full time worker” gets 2 weeks vacation off out of 52, plus a few holidays if they are lucky, and 1 week of sick time. The average hours worked in a week for the average full time worker is between 45 and 60 hours-many of these people are salaried workers.
    Will some please explain to me why we are paying $88k plus a bene bonanza for part time workers??????????? If anyone even tries to tell me that the poor teachers work every night at home grading papers-I will flat out call you a liar. Maybe one or two do-but even then I would be willing to be it is only those on the bottom of the salary lines. I don’t see a mass production of Rhodes Scholars coming out of the town schools, that return to the town to open businesses and run for office to make the town a better place. That is not what I see at all.
    $88+k per year for 200 days of work, now THAT is what I consider piracy of tax dollars.

  18. 18 1george1

    Phin,

    On c-span, Bill Gates talked about his foundation’s concentration
    on disease and education, which he claimed has not changed in
    50 years.

    I believe”
    Teachers work 184 or 186 days a year.
    Administrators work 220 days a year.
    Political town committees control candidate selection for Town/Boe.

    Town Council + Board of Ed control Budgets
    Mayor is elected, from Political town committees control, whose Town
    Councils formerly selected Town Managers
    Superintendents are hired by elected BoE.

    No one thinks about it, but it is a system begging to be rigged.

    You can see the list of salaries and steps and number of people in each
    in the back of the BoE Budget.

    It has been 2 years since I reviewed it.

    The Town list of salaries and steps and number of people in each
    in the each section of the Town Budget.

    I like the BoE system better.
    There is room for both listings of Salaries.

    However, there is no break down on Benefits in BoE Budget, if I
    remember correctly?

  19. 19 jezebel282

    Update:

    I am breaking from this topic for a moment.

    We would like to express our condolences and sympathy to the Crudo family on the loss of Joe Crudo’s mother.

  20. 20 phineast

    ditto.

  21. 21 1george1

    My condolences to Joe Crudo and family on loss of his mother.
    Some people (including Sylvia) told me touching stories about Joe’s dad.
    Joe is a very nice person and has done a lot in the community.
    Joe means well.

    My condolences to the family of ex Town Councilor, James Meehan,
    who died last week, days before the Town Council Meeting.

    My condolences to the family of Town Council Public Forum Speaker,
    Frank Esposito, who died last month.

    My condolences to the family of ex Town Council candidate,
    Steve Duncan, who died in January, days before the Town
    Council Meeting.

    My condolences family of ex USPS coworker Dave Jersey, long time
    of Stratford, who died in December, days before the Town Council
    Meeting. I worked with him and his brother, also of Stratford.
    I am unsure if they are related to ex-Stratford police Ron Jersey?

    My condolences / rememberences to the family of Sylvia Guberman
    who died last February. I remember it was the day before the RTC
    Meeting and weeks before the Laura Hoydic election to replace
    Harkins in Hartford.

    My condolences / rememberences to the family of the late, great,
    Ed “Beefy” Hargus who died in February 2007(?).
    Being arrested because of his stupid joking Public Forum remark,
    pushed by Henrick – Crudo – Norm, broke Ed’s Heart.
    Ed did more for Stratford and especially the seniors than all of the
    Town Councils + Town Committee member the last 20 years combined
    except maybe Ray Vaccola. or Diane/Eleanor or Marcia Stewart!

    I also remember good Stratford people among others:
    Ed Fennel
    Dean Paradise
    Alex Kozak
    Evelyn O’Sullivan
    Tony Mazzarese
    Russell Pleasic
    Amy Knott McDonald

  22. 22 phineast

    Can some one PLEASE EXPLAIN to me WHY, WHY, WHY is the town/BOE putting new windows in Nichols school when they aren’t sure they are keeping it open???????????????????????????????????????????????????? (bidding request is in the paper today) How about the town puts a FREEZE on all NON essential building repairs until the BOE comes up with a plan to reduce the spending by the 1.7 million dollars that was originally out of the budget????????????????????
    What the He!! is wrong with these people in charge????pissing our money away on projects/buildings that may be shuttered in 12 months….STOP PISSING OUR MONEY AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    How about getting a REAL economic development director is you need to spend money- that is a commission based salary…talk about a motivator to get businesses into the town, that would do it!

  23. 23 jezebel282

    Phin,

    “WHY is the town/BOE putting new windows in Nichols school when they aren’t sure they are keeping it open?”

    First of all, it’s April. The windows would be already budgeted. Secondly, even if Nicholls is closed (highly doubtful) the Town still owns it and will use it for something. New windows will keep the energy costs down.

    “How about getting a REAL economic development director”
    According to the budget proposal, Economic Development has been defunded by 43.46%. And apparently there is no need for an Economic Development Director either. We only need something called “contractual services”.

  24. 24 1george1

    I would be stunned if any schools were closed.
    Windows are a tiny expense with actual ROI.
    > actually … I wonder how many windows will be installed?
    How many windows will be … ah … diverted?

    Maybe that’s the real reason for buying them?
    Someone’s north end mansion needs and upgrade?
    “This IS Stratford!”

    ==

    PHIN Whereas real Town costs are
    > Defined Benefit
    > Kited Health Care
    > Assordid (correct spelling) Benefits
    > Certain Contractors Fees
    > Certain BIDS / AWARDS / CHANGE ORDERS
    > Certain unfunded mandates and squandered buying.
    Easily I can find 40 % of the Budget higher than it should be.

    ——

    Why not divide the number of teachers into the number of students,
    to get what the class size would be, if it were not for special ed.
    > There are real cases among special ed.
    > There are also probable cause for feather bedding and budget kiting.

    ——

    I like Allesie
    I liked Toolan. She was not allowed to do her job.
    I have not figured out what Sherman actually brings to table.
    Bridgeport Regional Business council reminds me of Gavin
    > great at seting up meetings
    > not accomplish much

  25. 25 jezebel282

    Update:

    From the Patch:
    http://stratford.patch.com/articles/school-budget-approved-elementary-level-language-classes-saved

    “School Budget Approved; Elementary Level Language Classes Saved
    Projected $279,000 surplus from this year will help keep world language classes.”
    Don’t we do this every year? Maybe it’s me, but I can’t seem to remember a year when closing schools wasn’t a threat.

    “Feeney said that could fall lower if the board is required to dip into surplus for an arbitration award with the secretaries’ union.”
    Oh, I see. It’s not the administrators, principals and vice principals that all make over 6 figures per year. It’s those damned secretaries who make 1/4 -1/3 of that.

  26. 26 1george1

    Jeze,
    2 or 3 years ago, I heard Irene Cornish state 60 % of the Teachers
    were at TOP STEP LEVEL of between $ 89,000 to $ 94,000.

    I believe that can be verified if true or still true, in the back of the
    BoE Budget.

    What if STEP PAY increased 2 % per year?
    I do not know what the STEP increases were?
    I know they never go down?

    If they were 2 % per year x 3 years = 6 %
    plus compounding.

    One might find TOP STEP might now be between $ 93,000 & $ 100,000.

    Teachers work 184 days annually minus time off.
    Administrators work 220 days annually.

    I believe Teacher work less than 5.5 class room hours a day.
    184 x 5.5 = 920 + 92 = 1012 hours per year.

    People on 40 hour work week, with no paid holidays, sick leave etc =
    40 hours weekly x 52 = 2080 hours per year.

    $ 100,000 + Healthcare + Pensions + Benefits for PART TIME WORK =
    1/2 the ANNUAL MAN HOURS of some / many PRIVATE SECTOR?

    Yes, Teachers correct tests / homework … blah blah
    Who does NOT work O.T. or 2nd Job?

    I SUPPORT TEACHERS & SCHOOLS over need for PRISONS & GUARDS;
    JUDGES and LAWYERS, etc.

    However the SCHOOLS have been the BREEDING GROUNDS for DRUGS,
    and ALCOHOL for 50 years ….

    $ 2 million O.T. for Firemen, getting paid while they SLEEP, and taking
    OFF straight TIME to be able to help each other get O.T. because they
    have UNLIMITED SICK LEAVE?

    PENSIONS: near, at, or above BASE PAY, where lifetime various Police,
    Fire, PW, etc contribute under $ 100,000 NET, after CASH OUT ….

    If they live retired for 30 years, since many retire in their 50s …

    PENSIONS @ $ x 30 YEARS

    $ 10,000 x 30 = $ .3 million
    $ 20,000 x 30 = $ .6 million
    $ 30,000 x 30 = $ .9 million
    $ 40,000 x 30 = $ 1.2 million
    $ 50,000 x 30 = $ 1.5 million
    $ 60,000 x 30 = $ 1.8 million
    $ 70,000 x 30 = $ 2.1 million
    $ 80,000 x 30 = $ 2.4 million
    $ 90,000 x 30 = $ 2.7 million
    $ 100,000 x 30 = $ 3.0 million
    $ 110,00 x 30 = $ 3.3 million

    Based on how much is actually contributed lifetime x 2 = Town matching
    or even x 3 Town matching, like Social Security there is a short fall, when
    Town Pensioners are paid over $ 15,000.

    I include NO CASH OUT + INTEREST on COMPOUNDING LIFETIME Employee
    Contributions and the Town matching 200 % of NET/GROSS.

    Lawyers & Politicians and Management don’t care.
    20 – 30 years after they gave the OK they are DEAD.

    Their FAMILIES and ALLIES vampired and ghouled Tax Payers.

    ARE POLICE, STATE POLICE & FBI going to INVESTIGATE:
    > PONZI scheme benefitting them
    > POLITICAL PATRONS
    > FAMILY who CREATED this

  27. 27 jezebel282

    George,

    “What if STEP PAY increased 2 % per year?
    I do not know what the STEP increases were?
    I know they never go down?”

    Just to be clear, step increases are part of the union(s) negotiation. It’s an anachronism that should be replaced by merit increases, but this is Stratford. No one gets raises except the HR Director. The Town Attorney doesn’t need raises since he determines on his own what his raise will be.

    “PENSIONS @ $ x 30 YEARS”
    Again, just to be clear, no one currently at the BOE will receive a defined benefit pension. Most pensions (teachers & administrators) participate in a State program and the balance have a 401K-like plan.

  28. 28 1george1

    JEZE: no one currently at the BOE will receive a defined benefit pension.
    Most pensions (teachers & administrators) participate in a State program
    and the balance have a 401K-like plan.

    GEO: A few years ago a retired Teacher spoke at Budget Hearing.
    The INCREASES in BoE pensions (in the mid 1990s) dwarfed the OLD PENSIONS.
    * NOTE the number of BoEs, Towns, Parking, & Housing on BERCHEM Website?
    * NOTE the number of Lawyers wives who are Teachers?


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