Schools Return $14K Budget Balance to Town; BOE Supportive of Year-End Spending

Superintendent Pamela Aubin said the Town Council is not within its authority to require detailed monthly reports beyond the reports already furnished to the town.


After all is said and done, year-end encumbrances were realized, supplies paid for, building repairs made, buses purchased, contractual services paid for and adjustments made, the Montville Board of Education is returning $14, 844.73 to the town. 

Superintendent Pamela Aubin told the Board Tuesday that the Town Council’s edict last week “requiring” monthly detailed spending reports is problematic because those reports “contain identifying information” on special education, the release of which may not be allowed.

But she also said money appropriated for schools is to be used at the discretion of the board, under state law.  Adding that the reports that the schools are currently providing are detailed enough and in any event, the town cannot mandate such reports.

At the Council meeting last Monday, the entire council, save for Republican Dana McFee, called for a more detailed accounting on the heels of the year-end spending of $2.9 million by the BOE for myriad items including the purchase of Smart Boards for all classrooms at a cost of around $250,000.

Town Finance Director Terry Hart said the report the district forwards each month “is not useful if you’re looking to see exactly what the spending is. This report, you’re not going to get that.”

Tuesday, schools business manager Kathy Lamoureux handed Montville Patch a 41-page, double-sided report that lists all the spending for the month of June. It is broken down by department and then description. For example, Palmer Academy, textbooks and workbooks for a cost of $2,534.

“That’s great for balancing a checkbook, but no detail,” Hart complained.

And Councilor Gary Murphy, who got the ball rolling when he said last month that he was told the $3 million went to summer teacher salaries.  A few weeks later,  after reading Murphy was angry and said so at a Finance Committee meeting where he and fellow members Town Councilor Rosetta Jones and Town Council Chair Candy Buebendorf shared their frustration with the BOE. At that meeting, Buebendorf

At last week’s council meeting Murphy recapped his frustration.

“I love to go to the BOE, they’re civil, informative,” he said last week. “But on this single issue, on this $3 million, I have received more emails on this $3 million than in anything in my 6 years on this council.” He said the relationship between the council and the BOE has become “strained.”

But BOE chair David Rowley, addressing the Council, described the group as “about as apolitical an organization that you’ll find.”

“We’ve not had a party line vote in my 14 years.” He told the council that June spending, at roughly $3 million is in keeping with what is spent virtually every month.

When one looks at the budget, he said, one sees “that’s the average.”

And Tuesday night, the BOE was on board with Aubin.

Helen Rameos August 24, 2012 at 03:31 AM
Joy there is no kitchen in the superintendents office. Bad info
CB August 24, 2012 at 04:21 AM
So where did all those nice new kitchen cabinets get installed at?
CB August 24, 2012 at 04:30 AM
To all of you who think asking where YOUR money goes is overstepping, that's just foolish. We are all people and there are mistakes made all the time, that is why there are checks and balances to make sure mistakes are caught. I think that when certain people make mistakes, even when elected by residents, they should come forward and admit it instead of hiding behind the details in some law that say you don't have to provide line item detail on how you spend $3 million dollars in 2 weeks. I think that if someone took $3 million dollars from a company and started buying an over abundance of supplies just to use the budget so that it is not taken away the next year, heads would roll, but nope, not in town politics, we just brush it under the rug and cross our fingers that no one pays attention. Shame on us as residents and shame on people holding positions of authority for not raising their hand and saying yes we messed up.
CJ August 24, 2012 at 11:54 AM
CB, I'm not sure what your point is. The money spent was accounted for every penny. it was even listed in a patch article. I don't think anyone is really upset that the money was used for the kids to maintain the buildings, buy a bus and other needed items. The real issue is the council wants a list each month of what was spent and they get that but they can not have the list with students names on it. That is a violation of the law. The other issue is the council at the beginning wanted control over what the BOE purchased but by law they do not have that control. It's really all a stupid political stunt that in my opinion is a waist of time. We should be focused on helping our residence not political grandstanding.
CB August 24, 2012 at 02:41 PM
I think the experts in the education field should have control over what to buy. My field is accounting not education, I don't know what the latest supplies are, but I do know numbers. I as a resident have a problem when $3 million dollars is left over at the end of the year and there is a panic to spend it in a period of 2 weeks because people in education "power" are afraid to loose that budgeted money for the next year. I don't believe I am political grandstanding as CJ stated but more being a good steward of my own money that I give the town. From a financial standpoint, having 10% ($3 MILLION) of the schools budget being blown through in 2 weeks seems like something that I as a concerned citizen should have the right to know details to. Also, there are all sorts of rumors flying around town that in those 2 weeks there was money spent on needed items, but there more than necessary purchased. So if you look at the line items and it tells you how many smart boards, etc that was purchased it won't look funny, until you actually start looking at what our schools/classrooms actually needed and asked for. If we really look into it I have a feeling more than what was asked for was purchased in an effort to spend that $3 million dollars FAST so the money wasn't taken away in the next years budget. There are just too many suspicious comments, accusations, rumors going around town that have not been answered by the people actually spending the money.


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