NEW SUPERINTENDENT JULY 1...WILL HAVE TO FACE EMPOWERED BOARD OF FINANCE
                


Let Westonites take action at ATBM as the Governor sees red and the Legislature says "let them eat cake" to use an expression... and watch out for yet another Amended Biennial Budget, "Implementer Bill," after this "short" session.
               
Three types of graphic descriptions of the Weston Budget Process above:  "Slicing the Pie" watercolor, circles depict opportunity for public input;  LWV of Weston's SPEAK UP 2016 hit all except  this and this.



So About Town was correct, unfortunately
.  Read latest here.



On the heels of words from the Governor, ATBM began with Board of Finance Chair. comments

JUNE 21st, AS THE NEW FISCAL YEAR APPROACHES...WE LOOK BACK JUST A BIT...
Quorum present for ATBM (@200 attended, 14o voted that evening, after ATBM)!!!  And a total of 575 voted including the 12 noon to 8pm Referendum continuation voting period at Town Hall...and then


                
2017 STUDY OF STATE GOVERNMENT DEBT  BY PEW CHARITABLE TRUST.  GREAT NEWS from Hartford - CT C.G.A. has passed yet another form of legal gambling to help balance who's ledger?


O P E N I N G    P O L I C Y    D I S C U S S I O N    B U D G E T   F Y ' 1 7

LWV OF WESTON:  THE BUDGET PROCESS:  HOW DOES IT WORK?
  "Slicing the Pie" that is Weston's budget target number.  Graphic shows the three circles where public participation counts!

TOWN OF WESTON BUDGET PROCESS:  FY'17:  Activities in 3 parts of the Weston budget - Capital (Town and School), Education (operating), Town (operating).

"How the Budget Process Works" (our short version, using last year as an example)  -  See the Town Charter.
Elsewhere



WESTON MEETINGS OPEN TO PUBLIC,  A lot happened outside the public view - ultimately, with CT in a state of flux, Weston Board of Finance approved an under 1% increase for Town, School and Capital budgets...ATBM April 20th!  It was self-cutting by Town and Schools re:  bottom lines of their budget.






Board of Finance "DELIBERATION MEETING" Tues. April 5, 2016...under 1% increase.   Cuts were made by Schools and Town prior to meeting.  Why?  Well, more money came in than they had estimated (some grants, etc. only calculated later in process by others) and it seems to me as if both boards got competitive about who could bring in a lower budget!!!



NEXT BOARD OF FINANCE MEETING SHOULD BE A WILD ONE, AS LEFT ON THE TABLE WAS HOW TO CALCULATE FUND BALANCE...






FORUM story on Public Hearing -  http://www.thewestonforum.com/61939/weston-town-and-school-budget-requests-now-1-16-increase/

BOARD OF FINANCE PUBLIC HEARING MARCH 30, 2016, 8PM, W.M.S. CAFETERIA - 47 MINUTES.




Town side of the budget went first.  First Selectman announces that a lower number for the town side had occurred after new information came in on investments (we think) that more than compensated for including the 100% S.R.O. costs in the Town budget under the Police CommissionS.R.O. the only issue broached and got comment from Police Commission, Board of Education and the Chief of Police.

                             

School side of the budget next.  Vice- Chair explains FY'17 budget, ironically with a music stand in the picture...and Superintendent explains, in response to question why arts funding has gone down.  Finance Board member notes that if he is reading this correctly (my words) there will be no increase more than pennies in taxes?  " Yup, just about" says Town Administrator.

            
47 minutes and it was over - on to "Deliberation Meeting" Tuesday April 5th at 7:30pm in Town Hall.
-------------------------------------


BOARD OF FINANCE PUBLIC HEARING MARCH 30TH AT 8PM IN WESTON MIDDLE SCHOOL CAFETERIA.
      
Board of Finance:  What it is really all about (S.R.O.)...Kabuki Dance performed by those who participated in Executive Session allowing Police inside schools January 2014 Executive Session


Board of Finance reviews Education Budget...
Wednesday, March 9, 2016, 7:15pm from Town Hall  - we will watch it from home.  Here is a link provided at the Town of Weston website to the Education Budget:  http://www.westonps.org/uploaded/Budget_2017/ExecSummary.pdf

    
WEBSITE, TECHNOLOGY FOCUS;  LWV "SPEAK UP" MENTIONED...





Board of Finance will increase the Selectmen's budget, perhaps, to find the other $40k needed to pay S.R.O.???


BOARD OF FINANCE BEGINS REVIEW OF THREE BUDGETS:  Picture story below of first 90 minutes of first day...it was Kabuki Theatre - all members of boards and commissions who were on the agenda of Selectmen's budget sat in audience and watched S.R.O. issue reveal  itself, almost...we left prior to the actual review of the Selectmen's Budget.  We note that the Town Administrator was taking the notes, so he did not sit up front defending the Selectmen's Budget.  FWIW - all three members of the Board of Selectmen were present but not sitting together...


FINANCE OFFICER REPORT
O.P.E.B. progress and auditor appointment report...there will be a sub-committee appointed to review the audit firm work - one member recused himself in advance of any discussion/action.



S.R.O. in the theatrical tradition...
Member of the Board of Finance watches the room fill with agency heads, board members and the general public.




S.R.O. in the 21st Century post-Newtown era...
So how do we like the idea of an armed policeman roaming the halls at our four schools, getting information from students, but based at W.H.S.?  Is a "closed campus" next - Chief mentions again his concern about "open campus" and encouragement of drug use.  Which Constitutional Amendment (4th) is that again (search and seizure) that is impinged upon, perhaps?



 
TWO OR "BOTH SIDES NOW" - CLOUDS ILLUSIONS...FAIRY TALES OF AS WE SAY, KABUKI THEATRE






ALMOST S.R.O. ("standing room only")
Will there be a second night tonight, Tuesday, or did the Board of Finance do a pass for public consumption?  Nothing posted online about a second night...










Happening elsewhere...on the budget front.




BOARD OF EDUCATION (THE STAFF) STARTS EARLIER BECAUSE MORE DETAILS AND INDIVIDUALS INVOLVED (OUR OPINION) PLUS DIFFERENT INPUT FROM THEIR PUBLIC'S NEEDS. 

BOARD OF EDUCATION HAS IT (BUDGET) ON THE AGENDA DEC. 21, 2015:  Collapsed public hearing into two nights because of snow date...


 

SNOWING DURING THE BUDGET PROCESS BUT TOWN TV COME TO THE RESCUE!!!
Budget Workshops on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 CANCELLED rescheduled to Jan 19 - Tuesday, January 19, 2016; and Thursday, January 21, 2016, at 7:30 p.m.

Next Regular Board Meeting is Monday, January 25, 2016, at 6:00p.m.  Which wasn't on TV - but the Proposed Budget, which if anything increased a tiny bit, is now online:  http://www.westonps.org/page.cfm?p=5754

---------------------

Board of Education process (from last year, as an example of how it plays out):  http://www.westonps.org/page.cfm?p=4868









MONDAY, FEB. 22, 2016.  First Selectman's Budget becomes the Board of Selectmen's Budget;  Selectmen jawbone Board of Education at length.


     

TURN OF THE SCREWS INDEED ON KEEPING BUDGET LOW -  ON TO THE BOARD OF FINANCE AND A DECISION ON S.R.O.  $135k cut recommended.

I can't recalled a more detailed review of major parts of School Budget with Selectmen taking the lead - they did their homework!

Watercolor "Turn of the Screws" by M.S. Wirtenberg -  plus answer, and a note that First Selectman has also commented in power point about this pressure,





MONDAY, FEB. 8, 2016. First Selectman presents to Board of Selectmen (see below).


     
Town Budget (First Selectman's becomes Selectmen):

NOTE:  Capital Budget is part of the Town side of the budget in the sense that ATBM can act to cut separate items including those proposed by the Board of Education.  But only if there is a quorum at ATBM!  For more detail on this meeting, click here

REPORT FROM FORUM on what we saw from home:  http://www.thewestonforum.com/59405/weston-first-selectman-proposes-1-74-town-budget-increase/




TUESDAY, FEB. 9, 2016.  BOARD OF EDUCATION PRESENTS BUDGET TO SELECTMEN - NO ACTION TO BE TAKEN OTHER THAN TO PASS IT ALONG TO BOARD OF FINANCE;



STRATEGIC PLANNING COMMITTEE BEING RUN OVER BY ACTION-ORIENTED GOVERNMENT!
Pictured above, during grilling on their budget, staff and members of the Board of Education in the audience.   Vice-Chairman reports on the issue of revising the Board of Education website.







Capital Budget:  Joint School and Town projects together, itemized.



Capital Advisory Committee #3
Town Hall
Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Next and perhaps last meeting...once there is a vote taken by Capital Advisory Committee, we will post a bottom line total $$ for recommended projects.  "Recommended projects" then go to the First Selectman.

School Capital Budget items total $579,589 and include among other things, funding for the next version of "Kastle-Boos-type Study" to keep buildings in good repair.  Especially important in a time of uncertainty about enrollment.

Town side of Capital Budget $687, 200 - sounds like the requests for Town needs were given emphasis!  Police, Fire, Parks and Rec,, roof replacements (Town has always used what I would cal a "lay-away plan" approach [since the days of previous Town Administrator from 1980 and even earlier]


"""'




Capital Advisory Committee #2

Town Hall
11-30-15 at 7:45am

Agenda:  http://www.westonct.gov/media/file/CapCommAgenda11-30-15.pdf
Town of Weston makes proposals and Board of Education makes revisions - requiring a meeting Dec. 16, 2015 to make certain items are accomplished in a timely fashion.
   



Capital Advisory Committee #1
Board of Education proposes a large-ish place in each of the 4 schools to be air-conditioned as one part of its Capital request.
  




FY'17 BUDGET PROCESS SCHEDULE

SPECIFIC TO THIS BUDGET PROCESS, DATES IN THE "MARCH" TO A.T.B.M. AND THEN REFERENDUM
NOT YET AVAILABLE - CHAPTER 'C' ARTICLE 9 - VIEW CHARTER SPECIFICS HERE






E L S E W H E R E



Well, our answer re:  kicking the can down the road to Short Session was apt. 



What happened to aid for Weston in the document above?  More here, however - bravo, House and Senate Republicans!
Ans:  Hard to say, as there weren't major philosophical decisions made other than kicking the can down the road - to the Short Session 2016?





NEW MILFORD: 

New Milford school board suggests $310,000 cut after voters reject budget
Danbury News-Times
By Katrina Koerting
Published 4:26 pm, Sunday, May 29, 2016


"...The $62.2 million schools budget failed by 18 votes with 734 residents voting against it and 716 voting in favor. The $36.6 million town budget passed 841 to 608.

"...
In a more than 2-to-1 margin, voters said in response to an advisory question on the ballot that they didn’t want to increase funding if either budget failed.  The combined proposed budget of $100.3 million was about $300,000 more than the current fiscal year. This included a spending increase of $1 million for the school budget, $182,000 more for the town budget, and $1.6 million for capital projects, which is about $872,000 less than the current fiscal year."

















Preston voters reject school spending plan, approve town budget
DAY
By Claire Bessette 
Published May 17. 2016 9:17PM | Updated May 17. 2016 10:45PM

Preston — Voters overwhelming rejected the proposed school budget, while approving the town government budget Tuesday in a referendum that featured a turnout nearly triple that of recent past budget referendums.

Voters rejected the school budget 370-279, and approved the town budget by a 348-299 vote.

Both budgets called for spending increases over this year's budgets, with the school budget at a 4.5 percent increase.


Story in full:  http://www.theday.com/article/20160517/NWS01/160519308






State slashes funding to Greenwich schools
Greenwich TIME
By Paul Schott
Published 12:35 pm, Saturday, May 21, 2016

GREENWICH — Greenwich will lose about $1.6 million in state education funding in the next fiscal year, but school and municipal officials said they expect the town to take the hit without having to make any programming cuts...

Counting only municipal aid, not ECS funds, state funding will increase from about $1.26 million this year to approximately $1.62 million in 2016-17. Total funding, including the ECS grant, will fall from $4.29 million this year to $3.06 million next year.

Many local officials see the reduced state funding as a harbinger of greater controls on expenditures, even though the town’s funding bodies have already reined in spending in recent years. The BET-set budget guideline for town departments was a 2 percent increase for the upcoming fiscal year. That threshold could be lowered for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

“Partly because of the continued problems at the state level and partly because the RTM is saying that they do not want the budget to go up so much, the answer is the guidelines for the fiscal year 2018 budget are probably going to be a little tighter,” Lash said.

Story in full:  http://www.greenwichtime.com/local/article/State-slashes-funding-to-Greenwich-schools-7912487.php







Since Greenwich got hit with cut to ECS, was this one way to compensate?
GREENWICH:   In an article in the Greenwich TIME on May 14: 
http://www.greenwichtime.com/local/article/Fight-over-Greenwich-budget-isn-t-over-7468772.php

Fight over Greenwich budget isn’t over
Greenwich TIME
By Ken Borsuk
Published 12:44 pm, Saturday, May 14, 2016

GREENWICH — Town department heads are scrambling in the wake of this week’s tumultuous budget vote, which saw Representative Town Meeting members exercising their cost-cutting powers to a degree unseen in recent years.  But budget hawks who narrowly prevailed this year after past attempts to curb spending failed, said town officials should expect more of the same in the future.  “Every day I talk to people who are frustrated by the ever-increasing taxes in this town,” said RTM District 5 member Jason Auerbach. “The cuts were truly de minimis but the message was sent and I hope our town leaders are listening...”  

Story in full including table of Town side of Greenwich budget:  http://www.greenwichtime.com/local/article/Fight-over-Greenwich-budget-isn-t-over-7468772.php



An opinion:  http://www.greenwichtime.com/news/article/Bob-Horton-RTM-cuts-should-lead-to-more-7468887.php










WEST HAVEN:  http://www.nhregister.com/general-news/20160304/west-haven-boe-cuts-superintendents-budget-from-441-percent-increase-to-297-percent







RIDGEFIELD OVER 6%:  http://www.newstimes.com/news/article/Ridgefield-schools-seek-6-percent-increase-6828693.php





New London school budget proposed at 2.5% increase...

From the DAY in New London, Feb. 9, 2016 —

"School Superintendent Manuel J. Rivera presented his recommended $64.6 million budget to the Board of Education on Tuesday that includes a proposed 2.5 percent increase for the city’s share of costs.  If it remains untouched, the budget for fiscal year 2017 will require $43.5 million from the city as compared to the current year’s $42.4 million appropriation from the general fund.  Rivera said the budget accommodates a $2.9 million reduction in state grants and a $1.8 million increase in expenses that include contractual agreements.

"The school expects to receive $21.1 million from the state this year compared to the $22 million received last year"...





But had this change gone into effect yet?  We think not!
Stonington residents critical of 2 percent budget limit
By Joe Wojtas, DAY
Published November 30. 2015 6:49PM
Updated November 30. 2015 7:53PM
 
Stonington — A group of 89 residents has signed a letter to the Board of Finance telling members they had no authority to instruct department heads to limit their proposed 2015-16 budget increases to 2 percent.

...Among those signing the letter were residents who played a central role in successfully convincing residents to approve a charter change last month that ensures Board of Finance elections are contested in the future. They include Kevin Bornstein, Bob Statchen, Amy Hambly and Charter Revision Commission Chairman Matt Berger. 



Until the change, the charter called for each town committee to appoint a candidate for the two available seats every two years, which meant the pair ran unopposed and were automatically elected unless there was a primary challenge or an unaffiliated candidate...http://www.theday.com/local/20151130/stonington-residents-critical-of-2-percent-budget-limit





 
Special education, wages expected to drive 2016-17 schools budget
By KOREY WILSON, Hour Staff Writer
Posted: Monday, November 23, 2015 10:00 pm | Updated: 10:06 pm, Mon Nov 23, 2015.

NORWALK --Special Education and salaries continue to be some of the largest uses of school finances as the Norwalk Board of Education plans the schools operating budget for next fiscal year.  The Board of Education's Finance Committee held a special meeting Monday to discuss factors impacting the development of the 2016-2017 operating budget...story in full:  http://www.thehour.com/news/norwalk/special-education-wages-expected-to-drive---schools-budget/article_bce51b90-c47d-5fab-9c28-33ce81326a78.html








Westport looks for ways to fill state education funding gap
Westport NEWS
Published 1:18 pm, Monday, May 30, 2016

WESTPORT—Due to state budgetary cuts to both the Educational Cost Sharing grant and state municipal aid, the town is looking for ways to diminish the $1,192,000 gap left by the funding reductions...

Story in full:  http://www.westport-news.com/news/article/Westport-looks-for-ways-to-fill-state-education-7953055.php






School officials still scrutinizing impact of state aid cut
Westport News
By Chris Marquette
Published 6:55 am, Tuesday, May 17, 2016

...But uncertainty remains as town and school officials consider how to accommodate a reduction of about $1 million in state education funding to Westport for the new fiscal year. The expected cut in the state’s Education Cost Sharing money, about half the amount initially proposed by Gov. Dannel Malloy, follows adoption of a nearly $20 billion state budget designed to close a deficit of just under $1 billion...

Story in full:  http://www.westport-news.com/news/article/School-officials-still-scrutinizing-impact-of-7520828.php





School Bus Monitor Cut Raises Fears
WestportNow
By James Lomuscio
Jan. 19, 2016

It happened a generation ago, but the 1991 death of an 8-year-old Westport girl run over by her school bus still resonated at tonight’s Board of Education meeting.

...The cut helps bring his budget in at a 2.03 percent increase over the current year, not too far from the Board of Finance’s suggested 1.5 percent increase.
..http://www.westportnow.com/index.php?/v3/comments/school_bus_monitor_planned_cut_raises_fears/





School Budget in Westport proposes 2% increase with some cuts:
http://www.westport-news.com/news/article/Parents-oppose-staffing-cuts-in-proposed-school-6745920.php





School budget in Westport with school population dropping report:

http://www.westport-news.com/news/article/As-school-enrollment-declines-financiers-press-6683068.php





BOE to Seek $290K for Coley El Air Conditioning
WestportNow
Nov. 23, 2015

After much discussion over the method of financing, the Westport Board of Education voted tonight to seek $290,000 to air condition the cafeteria and gymnasium at Coleytown Elementary School.  It is the only school among eight in the district that does not have air conditioning in these key areas...http://www.westportnow.com/index.php?/v2_5/comments/boe_to_seek_290k_for_coley_el_air_conditioning/

 
NINE MINUTE DOWNLOAD.


REMEMBER THIS MEETING?

---------------

SAVE THE DATE:  FEB. 27, 2016

And this?  Coming:  #25 "The Town's Business is Your Business:  Direction From the People To Their Government" (aka Speak Up) Saturday Feb. 27, 2015.



THE VERY FIRST SPEAK UP IN 1992...

How about this one?  No video available from that far back...