School board, administration leave too many questions unanswered

To the Editor:

Do parents know there is a financial shortfall in the current school budget for this fiscal year? What services will be sacrificed by the town to fill this gap in the school budget? Why has this topic not been given press coverage in the local papers? Why haven’t the PTAs been apprising parents of this shortfall in their numerous newsletters to support the budget?

Do parents know that our school district will most likely be entering the 2015-16 school year with a budget deficit in healthcare funding that could impact student instruction further? The administration has not communicated a cost containment plan to avoid future financial problems. Does one exist?  There is no mandated detailed financial reporting to the Board of Education. Why?

At one of the Board of Finance meetings last month, it was disclosed that the Board of Education healthcare is projected to have an approximately $1.5 million deficit for the next fiscal year. Why did we only recently find out about this shortfall? Does the district expect the town to help fund this shortfall as well? Will this leave the district in a negative reserve for the 2015 fiscal year?

Does anyone know the real breakdown for the approximate $1.5 million shortfall in special education? How do we know we are providing the best services at a reasonable cost to these students? Where are the metrics to evaluate efficiencies and effectiveness?

Why did it take so long for the BOE to be notified of the shortfall in the school food service fund? Did you know that historically the food service fund had a long running surplus? Why has this reserve been consciously depleted?

Maybe it is time for the Board of Education to start discussing these critical financial topics and demand more from the administration. Some board members are asking.

Predicting future financial issues is not easy, but planning appropriately for the future spending and identifying the root cause of problems before they are “surprises” is necessary and is the responsibility of central office to report to the Board of Education.

Too many unanswered questions by central office.

 

Dawn Llewellyn

Fairfield

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