One of the reasons the ended up being able to make a number of big ticket fiscal year-end purchases, like supplies for nearly every classroom and two new “sorely-needed; it’s safety issue” buses for the district’s fleet, and cover the costs associated with major facility maintenance projects, said, was in part because of savings that were realized due to “a very mild winter.”
The schools provided their year-end list of purchases, including supplies and services with the town Friday July 6, totaling approximately $3 million.
Aubin said in addition to encumbrances and the savings realized, “the Board of Education has directed that we take care of the needs” of the district.
“These are the needs.”
- Roof repair at Mohegan School - $206,000
- Smart Boards - $290,000
- Two buses - $160,000
- Wireless Internet for all schools (required by state mandated computer-generated testing assessment) - $200,000
- Supplies, textbooks, services -- $1 million
- Montville High School repairs -- $125,000
- Sick-time payouts for expected retirees; Contractually obligated unfunded liability -- $232,000
And then there’s the high jump replacement at the high school, computer replacements, firewall licensing, key lock replacement and the town-mandated radio system upgrade.
Aubin explained that the repairs were not capital but maintenance projects – and she “reminded” that there was “no money in capital last year and very little this year; we do what we can as repairs.”
She and schools business manager Kathy Lamoureux explained that year-end spending is the norm.
At least one town official and a one resident said recently that “leftover funds” should be returned to the town.
“The school board is out of control,” Kevin Fritch said.
But Aubin said the board has been “very clear.”
“We’re not blowing through and wasting $3 million. We can’t carry it over and we don’t know what will come and what the state will (mandate),” she said adding that any savings realized in a tight budget could surely be spent on needs that will soon enough become “mandated.”
“We cannot give back $200,000, say, when we know that we will be required by the state to take care of mandates,” she said. “We are running (the school district) as efficiently as a business, “ she said. “But we don’t produce widgets. This is a human rich endeavor. “