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Board of Ed Considers Capital Spending and Fiscal Discipline

Spending, Saving and Receiving Money on the Board's Agenda

 

The Board of Education will meet on Thursday, October 18 at Eastern Middle School and is scheduled to take action on their 2013-2014 Capital Plan,

Funding Capital Improvements

At that time there was a significant $2 million differential between the District's proposed capital budget of $10,075,000 and the $8,000,000 target stated in the draft Board of Estimate and Taxation budget guidelines. The plan was initially presented last month at the September 20 meeting at Hamilton Avenue School.

Now a month later, the same figure will be voted on by the 8 members of the board of education. The lengthy discussion that ensued at its first appearance centered around their collective belief that the district's capital improvement plan was carefully developed through a "rigorous analysis" to meet the infrastructure needs of the 1.5 million square feet of the school system.

While Superintendent of Schools Dr. William McKersie called the maintenance of facilities "the defining handshake with how the schools work with the town," the board will now need to determine the funding level they will submit to the First Selectman.

The proposal before the Board of Education on Thursday, explains that the "BET Capital Budget model attached to the guidelines shows an $8.0 million limit for the next 10 years." However, the district has spent on average approximately $10.34 million in capital over the past 8 years, which excludes the building of Hamilton Avenue and Glenville Schools.

The 10-year draft Board of Education Capital Improvements included in the report reveals that the projected spending of the next 10 years comes in at $96 million, which is $16 million above the BET's $8 million a year target. The Administration further explains that "in order to adhere to the Draft BET Guidelines, the BOE would have to defer projects" as follows:

  • 2013-14 - would defer $2 million to 2014-15;
  • 2014-15 - would defer total of $4 million;
  • 2015-16 - would defer $6 million.

Financial Management

In addition to identifying capital priorities, the board will also vote on the fiduciary management of the District through Monitoring Report E-020 on Financial Management, "significant progress made towards increasing the financial management, procedures, and reporting of the District."

The report points out that the budget variance for the year ended June 30 2012 was only $1.2 million or 0.87% positive, a significant improvement over the prior 3 years average of 2.79%.

While this means the district returned fewer funds to the Town of Greenwich General Fund than in prior years, it also could indicate more accurate budgeting.

Also noted is that no interim appropriations were requested during the past year and that the amount of unused grant money returned to the state was the second lowest in 6 years.

Additionally reported is that the amount of shared service costs borne by the Town on behalf of the district decreased by 11.75% to $28.1 million driven primarily by lower benefits costs.

The Gift of Financial Support

The report also highlights that the 15 PTAs across the district have gifted:

  • 2009-2010 - $881,300;
  • 2010-2011 - $923,901;
  • 2011-2012 - $954,982.

Additionally, the Greenwich Alliance for Education donated:

  • 2009-2010 - $98,010;
  • 2010-2011 - $58,144;
  • 2011-2012 - $72,820.

An Update On Racial Imbalance

Superintendent McKersie is scheduled to give an update on Greenwich’s racial imbalance challenge, which will likely include a summary of the Superintendent's meeting with Connecticut Commissioner Stefan Pryor on October 5th.

Last June, the Commissioner sent notification to the district indicating  that Hamilton Avenue and New Lebanon schools were cited as being racially imbalanced and Old Greenwich and Western Middle Schools were cited as being impending imbalanced.

Thursday's meeting will begin at 7 p.m.

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