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Northwestern Regional #7 Budget

by on April 28, 2015

It has been frustrating watching budget preparations for a couple of years now.  It seemed that while our town and local education representatives attempted to keep budgets tight so as not to burden taxpayers in what has been a tight economic climate, Regional 7 budgets have come in with greater than inflation and contractual increases despite decreasing enrollments.

While that may seem an over-simplistic analysis, a fellow taxpayer in Barkhamsted has done an analysis that shows those same Regional 7 budgets to have been significantly padded.  Tom Palmer has retrieved past budget vs actual numbers and developed an analysis of their budgeted vs spending variances for three years.

On May 5 there will be a budget referendum.  Perhaps the only way to require more accountability in budgeting at Northwestern is to vote their budget down and make them develop something a little closer to what they need. Please spend some time reviewing the analysis.

Northwestern is an excellent school.  It is not necessary to pad the budget with a half million dollars more than is needed to retain that excellence.

R_7_Final_Analysis

Please remember to vote on May 5.  The Town of New Hartford’s Finance Board does not support the Regional 7 budget.  I find myself in agreement.

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2 Comments
  1. Joe Gareis permalink

    Some school expense items tend to create budget surpluses. One area is teacher salaries. Budgets are written based on current staff. Because teachers pay is based on years of service, if there are any retirements or resignations, replacements come in at lower salaries.

    Surpluses are also generated because of the way special ed and other grant money is reflected (or not reflected) in school budgets. Schools would usually include all expected costs in budget line items, in effect assuming they won’t get any grant money. When grants do come in, the school is reimbursed for qualifying expenses, freeing up money that had been budgeted from town funds. This practice is hard to spot unless you look carefully at both revenues and actual expenditure line items.

    Whatever the source, it would be a problem if Region 7 has been either accumulating excess reserves or spending the surplus on things that would not have been approved by boards or voters in the budget review process. If surpluses are consistley applied to reduce next year’s assessment to participating towns and the school is upfront about the process, I wouldn’t sees this as a major issue.

  2. I think a $2.1 Million accumulated reserve indicates a
    very slow payback to the towns (based on audit report). The last three years budget surpluses do not add up to $2.1 Million. Application of reserves is much too slow.

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