By Elizabeth Reinhart / Zip06.com • 4/25/2021 3:47 PM EST
As the annual meeting for the proposed budget for the fiscal year 2021-22 (’22) of Deep River approaches on Monday, May 17, the Deep River Board of Education (BOE) was informed at a special meeting on April 21 that the budget from elementary school see the increase requested of $ 195,576, less $ 90,000 by the Board of Finance.
The formal request for reduction and final figure are expected at Tuesday, April 27, financial council meeting, where members will vote to move the proposed city budget, which includes the city’s education costs, to a public hearing on Wednesday, April 28 .
The Deep River BOE approved a proposed budget of $ 5,659,731 for the ’22 school year on March 18. It was an increase of $ 195,576, or 3.58 percent, from the current year. Most of the increases in the proposed budget were due to contractual obligations related to employee benefits and employee benefits.
Another important driver was the share of the school board in the shared costs in Supervision District. The Supervision District budget for fiscal year ’22 was approved on April 1 by the District Supervision Commission and the Joint Education Council.
“If you were just looking at the cost of the Deep River Elementary School and if you took out the supervision component, you would look at a change of about $ 10,000 from last year, it was something that came close out of that number, is about as close to a set budget as you can get, ”said Superintendent of Schools Brian White at the meeting.
The primary school budget for the school year ’22 did not include any significant new spending initiatives, but rather sought to maintain the current staffing and programming.
Executives said that with such a bare budget, the process of eliminating $ 90,000 in spending, which was the request of city officials as of the April 21 meeting, will be challenging.
“I think one of the consequences of having such a lean budget, there is no clear go-to place in the budget to find savings of this magnitude when instructed to cut back,” White said.
At the April 21 meeting, White and Chief Financial Officer Robert “Bob” Grissom presented a preliminary plan for reductions in various categories of the Deep River Elementary School’s ’22 budget, including the elimination of a staff position in the hospitality industry. It also called for costs associated with school-wide enrichment and school contributions to be reduced in the cost of field trips, among others.
“Unfortunately, in this case, you have to influence the staff and the programs to get $ 90,000, and that’s hard to do,” said White.
The most outspoken critic of the cut at the April 21 meeting, Marc Lewis, a member of the BOE, asked about the decision-making regarding the categories chosen for cuts and the loss of student enrichment programming. He also discussed the consequences of cutting the ’22 budget.
‘This is government accounting, right? So there is no going back. So once we start giving back $ 90,000 from our budget, we’ll never get that money back, ”said Lewis.
Further discussion among board members focused on the city’s considerations regarding mill tariff and the budget approval process.
Lewis described the Treasury Board’s request for reduction as “a misstep on their part.”
“We have not lost any houses in recent years and your mill rate is based on that. I don’t know what they think and what they do, but I have to stand firm and still say publicly that $ 90,000 is just a ridiculous number, especially to get out of education, ”said Lewis.
He also discussed the importance of education and the role of the board.
“We shouldn’t just sit here and take a hit of $ 90,000. There has to be some kind of reaction that we can imagine or go back to these people and say, “This is just not right.” Education is the foundation of a society and if we don’t educate our students, what are we doing here? Lewis said.
BOE Chairman Miriam Morrissey discussed the importance of voicing concerns about the cut at the city’s public hearing on the budget on April 28.
Vice Chairman Robert “Rob” Ferretti pointed out that “there are many conflicts of interest, but also things that are promised to other groups in the city, such as the fire department. They are trying to take a limited resource and distribute it evenly, but I can’t agree with you more, ”he said in response to Lewis.
The Deep River annual congregation meeting, where citizens can vote to approve or reject the proposed ’22 budget in person or online, is scheduled for Monday, May 17 at 7:30 p.m.