Meanwhile, on Planet B.O.E……

27Jan16
Budget Conference Room

Budget Conference Room

First Board of Ed budget proposal calls for 7.3% increase
By Melvin Mason on January 26, 2016
http://www.stratfordstar.com/46078/first-board-of-ed-budget-proposal-calls-for-7-3-increase/

A $5.4 million deficit? Who cares? The BOE wants a $7.3 million increase. On the BOE’s home planet that’s what you do when faced with a deficit…ask for even more. Apparently, tuition of $14,000 per student simply isn’t enough to educate the children of Stratford. We’re going to need another $4,620,000 in salary increases and benefits. It’s obvious to any administrator that we need even more assistant principals and math coaches. Hey, wait a minute! What’s a “Math Coach”? Is that a full time position with benefits? Or is that someone like a parent or perhaps a college student? And of course we need a Security Director because a $12 million/year police force with a Chief, Deputy Chief, Captains, Lieutenants and sergeants can’t handle security in this enormous town.

Sadly, no one will care. Certainly not the elected BOE members. They can barely keep up with the run around they’ve been getting from this administration. Already we have the DTC Chairman/Board of Ed Vice Chairman Len Petruccelli saying “the school board has to do what they think is best for the students.” Sure, Len. It’s all about the students (wink, wink). Perhaps Harkins, of all people, will simply say $7.3 million is way too much. Parents will cry out and rent their garments and Robinson will settle for $3.1 million and claim her budget was “cut”. As long as the BOE administrators get their raise, that’s all that really matters isn’t it? Hold on, we forgot the most important part; we get to pay for it.

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27 Responses to “Meanwhile, on Planet B.O.E……”

  1. I rise in defense of the BOE. Not really but you could understand why they would choose not to unilaterally disarm. Until the Town Council reigns in spending on the Town side, the BOE administration and members are not likely to take a $5.4 million deficit seriously.

  2. At $14000 per student, we could be sending them to college.

  3. 3 jezebel282

    LeftRight,

    We understand your point. But couldn’t Superintendent Robinson have been at least as clever as, say, the Fire Chief and claim the extra money is for a….100 ft trailer? Yeah! That’s it! A new trailer!

    Then, of course, she would need to staff it just like the Fire Chief. Maybe six or eight teachers with another administrator?

    Say, where in last year’s BOE budget were those trailers anyway?

  4. BOE spending is out-of-control! What I’d really like to see (in my lifetime, of course) is a comprehensive budget prepared by the COO! I want all of the salaries listed – we pay THEM a fortune. We have a top-heavy administration and until the parents start waking up and realizing that not much goes to the children, nothing will change.

    We need the same type of transparency that’s starting to happen on the Town side – we need a “Mark Dumas” on the BOE Board.

    Right now, they’re just rubbing their greedy hands together.

  5. 5 Rockannand

    Here is the video of Dr Robinson’s presentation at the budget workshop 1/26 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMMhYxrjB3I&feature=youtu.be

    Here is her ppt:
    http://www.stratfordk12.org/Customer-Content/www/CMS/files/2016-17_Supt__Presentation.pdf

    And here is her detailed budget for 2016-2017.
    http://www.stratfordk12.org/Customer-Content/www/CMS/files/StratfordBudgetBk_PPT1_28_2016.pdf

    It is clear they are banking on Stratford’s low position within its DRG-G group (one of the lowest at $14k/student) and in the state 134 out of 166 districts to justify a 7.3% budget increase.

  6. 6 jezebel282

    Rock,

    Is that like the Fire Department claiming that an ISO rating would lower our homeowners insurance rates?

  7. 7 Rockannand

    I love watching the start of the video on Tuesday’s budget workshop. BOE co-chair Petruccelli who is also chair of the finance subcommittee for BOE seems more interested in getting the meeting over with then figuring out what the hell this budget is really all about. In the Star article, all he had to say about 7.3% increase was, “the school board has to do what i best for the students.” If that were actually true, then this budget would look a helluva lot different.

    If was Gavin as BOE head who was responsible for bringing us the Mrs Robinson affair at a hefty premium salary (over $210k) and now the BOE leaders, Feehan and Petruccelli, are letting her do whatever she wants with little oversight or scrutiny. These two seem to be only focused on what’s best for themselves IMHO

    We have all these multimillion dollar projects with the High School, the BOE budget while we have unnecessary fire trucks bought from Feehan’s company and the DTC chair making backroom deals to be BOE co-chair to make his resume look better for a mayoral run in 2017. How do these people get elected to important positions?

    I looked at some of the slides in Mrs Robinson’s affair’s ppt and was wondering who do we blame for the poor performance. If i had kids in this school system i would be outraged and demanding answers for how the money is being spent. I give the Superintendent an F thus far and can only wonder what the hell the BOE elected officials are going to do to fix it. Looks like nothing so far.

  8. 8 jezebel282

    Rock,

    Let’s see if any of the elected BOE members can force Robinson to disclose what a given administrator actually receives in compensation. Instead of lumping three or four of them together (like Sue Collier does in the Town budget) or dividing an individual into tenths. As in 0.7 of a person.

    But perhaps the Board members are so impotent they can’t even manage that little result.

  9. 9 Rockannand

    “Let’s see if any of the elected BOE members can force Robinson to disclose what a given administrator actually receives in compensation. Instead of lumping three or four of them together (like Sue Collier does in the Town budget) or dividing an individual into tenths. As in 0.7 of a person.”

    Do you really think that Lenny, “I hate meetings and doing work” Petruccelli will demand that? It is laughable that he thinks he has a snowball’s chance int hell of winning a town-wide election for Mayor. George has a better chance of winning.

  10. 10 jezebel282

    Rock,

    “then this budget would look a helluva lot different. ”

    It might even have meaningful numbers in it. The BOE’s current budget that was posted is meaningless. What little information the Superintendent had in it last year has even less in it this year. All of the staffing data have been removed. How many Franklin School Kindergarten teachers do we get for $216,503? One? Ten? And apparently the need for substitute teachers has been completely eliminated {TEACHER SUBSTITUTES (900,000)}. Did we save nearly $1 million? Now what happens if a teacher gets sick?

    Aside from the probable waste of money, there is another issue here that no administrator, be they mayor or superintendent, seem to understand. This is public money. This is not money they earned somehow and are entitled to spend however they deem fit. This is money that each and every taxpayer earned and provides to this municipal government to operate this Town, keep citizens safe and educate children. The taxpayers (that’s you and me) have an absolute right to know and the administrators have an obligation to provide detailed information about how our money was spent. Including exact amounts, upon what and why our money is required.

    If this were a public business the SEC would have put the Board of Ed, The Superintendent, the Chief Operating Officer and several others in jail a long time ago.

  11. 11 stfdprofessor1

    “no administrator, be they mayor or superintendent, seem to understand. This is public money.”

    No truer words…BTW how’s the new town council doing collecting all those car keys and lowering those lavish raises to the mayors cronies?????????

  12. 12 missgreeneyes118

    Well we did have 17% voter turnout in the Tuesday election

    http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/17-turnout-pretty-good-officials-say-6804607.php

    That 100% increase in registrar salaries is really paying off

  13. 13 jezebel282

    Update:

    This has to be one of our favorite quotes:

    “Shouldn’t she have posed these questions long ago? Should she have had these answers before she got on the council?” Feehan said last week.”
    http://www.stratfordstar.com/46502/council-planning-review-of-shs-renovation/

    This is from the guy who let the Superintendent submit a budget with a 7.3% increase when he is fully aware that the Town is $5+ million in the hole. He didn’t bother to raise a single question about the BOE budget. Nothing like how/why do we eliminate $900,000 worth of substitute teachers or why do we need $606,000 worth of a Lead Mathematics Teacher?

    Why aren’t parents inundating Feehan’s voicemail or email with angry protests about the completely ridiculous BOE budget that he would like the Council to approve. Where’s the money for the children, Jim?

  14. “That 100% increase in registrar salaries is really paying off”

    Here’s one to win the chutzpah award. The Republican registrar has a bumper sticker that reads “Republicans: Working like crazy supporting the lazy” Can you imagine? This is a guy working a part-time job and collecting a full time salary off of the taxpayers in town.

  15. 15 jezebel282

    LeftRight,

    We think Lou Decilio misunderstands the meaning of “unearned income”.

  16. 16 missgreeneyes118

    Numbers don’t lie.

    Obviously a paltry 17% voter turnout is hard proof that the registrar’s office needs to increase its staff.

    I am sure they can get some friends and family to come on board. Especially at the wages and benefits that are currently being paid by the Town to registrars and their assistants.

    If we put their office in the sewage treatment plant – is there a way that we could we charge all the salaries and benefits to the WPCA account?

    Ask hard working Lou …. if you can catch him during his busy crazy work day.

  17. 17 jezebel282

    Green,

    We are going to do something that would never occur to Lou Decilio…we are going to be fair. According to published reports, 2,212 voters actually showed up and voted on a cold February day for a single State Representative position. This is not a bad turnout given the poor record Stratford citizens have for showing up and voting. Does the voter turn out have anything at all to do with the efforts of a Registrar of Voters? No. Not really. The lack of anything to do for a Registrar of Voters for the money we pay them is a whole ‘nother topic.

    We continue to hope that Mr. Gresko can pay attention to what is happening on the Town Council while also attempting to represent us in Hartford. Council votes have not been this critical at any time in the past ten years and citizens can use all the support they can get.

    We have not seen any Council actions at all yet. There has been some fine rhetoric and some posting of excellent data…but no action. The Council has yet to confiscate a single luxury car from any highly paid administrator. If they can’t even do that, how will they cut a budget?

  18. “The Council has yet to confiscate a single luxury car from any highly paid administrator.” I recall the days when Jim Miron used to drive a white hybrid Ford Escape. Now I see that car and similar compacts being driven around by town employees and I can’t help but think that they must really be at the bottom of the food chain in order to not have their own luxury SUV.

  19. Okay, off topic, but you know, I really think the BOE needs a complete overhaul. We obviously have people who don’t know how to check calendars for building availability before they schedule something else. Sterling House has use of the Center School gymnasium through the first weekend of March; however, someone saw fit to schedule the set-up of computers for registration – which is set to start the following week on the last weekend which Sterling House had – for many months – had it reserved. People obviously don’t check calendars or they just don’t care about causing confusion in rescheduling of locations. Nice going whomever at the BOE pulled that! Sorry, but what idiots! And what did they say – we scheduled it a few weeks ago – well, poor Bill O’Brien had the gym reserved MONTHS ago!

    All those double-dippers still can’t get out of their own way.

  20. 20 jezebel282

    PCS,

    We’re confused. Didn’t the Town confiscate Center School to make it a parking lot?

  21. 21 jezebel282

    Update:

    “Tone optimistic for Stratford High renovation
    By Melvin Mason on February 19, 2016

    The proposed renovation, which would include adding a new wing west of King Street as well as provide extensive renovations to the current building, is expected to cost about $125.9 million.”

    Such a deal! But in August of 2015 the proposed budget was $108.9 million. A 15% increase and not an ounce of soil has been moved. Incredibly, Council Chairperson DaPonte was roundly criticized for daring to ask why.

    Somehow Stratford parents are convinced that as long as the BOE spends money in any amount that’s greater than what they are currently spending that somehow it benefits their children. Parents believe in some magical correlation between the BOE budget (mostly Administrator salary increases) and the quality of their child’s education. No child ever got smarter by paying a Superintendent or COO more.

    After all, cutting out every single substitute teacher must be a way to improve education. At least that’s what the BOE budget says:

    ACCT 508 ALL TEACHER SUBSTITUTES (900,000) (100.00%)

    http://www.stratfordk12.org/Customer-Content/www/CMS/files/StratfordBudgetBk_PPT1_28_2016.pdf

    Does any parent read this stuff? Anyone at all?

  22. 22 ronmoreau

    Jez et al, “The proposed (Stratford high) “renovation”, which would include adding a new wing west of King Street as well as provide extensive renovations to the current building, is expected to cost about $125.9 million.”

    “Such a deal! But in August of 2015 the proposed budget was $108.9 million. A 15% increase and not an ounce of soil has been moved. Incredibly, Council Chairperson DaPonte was roundly criticized for daring to ask why.”

    This project actually went from making the science labs ADA compliant to building a new school to the tune of $125.9 Million. By the time the change orders come in it will end up costing us $200 million. Who in their right mind would tear down their house and build a new one if their bathroom and kitchen needed updating?

    “The school maintains documentation that the physical plant and facilities meet all applicable federal and state laws and are in compliance with local fire, health, and safety regulations”
    “Although the building is ADA compliant, the science labs are not.
    Since the school maintains documentation that the physical plant and facilities meet all applicable federal and state laws and are in compliance with local fire, health, and safety regulations”

  23. 23 missgreeneyes118

    The nonsense surrounding the high school project needs to be put to rest by the mayor.
    Isn’t that why we went to the mayor system?
    To have someone to take charge?

  24. 24 1cyclops

    missgreeneyes, Isn’ that why we went to the mayor system? To have someone to take charge? How has that been working out for all of you????

  25. 25 stfdprofessor1

    “How has that been working out for all of you????”

    PERFECT

  26. 26 stfdprofessor1

    “PERFECT” to clarify I meant PERFECT reply!!!

  27. Jez ~ to answer your question above, no. The Board of BOE did not have the votes to turn control of the Center School building to the Town. So, right now, it’s a stalemate.


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