Thursday, March 4, 2010

Board of Finance
March 2, 2010
Page 1 of 2

Attendance: Chairman Janet Brunwin, Stephen Squinto, Robert Brinton Jr., Chip Spear, Sally Huyser, John Grabowski, First Selectwoman Derrylyn Gorski
Guests: Timothy Cannellan, Janet Finneran, Laura Adair, Maura Harrigan, Brian Fournier, Domonick Reis, Christopher Pittenger all members of the Bethany Board of Education. There were 15 parents of students at the Bethany Elementary School present.
Chairman Brunwin called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m. The meeting was help in the Conference Room of the Bethany Town Hall.

Chairman Brunwin called for a motion of approval for the minutes of the previous meeting. The motion was moved by Chip Spear and seconded by Robert Brinton Jr. Robert moved to amend the minutes regarding the salary of the Tax Collector. He amended as follows: (step 2 from job study). Chairman Brunwin amended the minutes regarding Capital Expenditures as follows: Capital and other emergency repairs. The minutes were then approved as amended on a unanimous vote.

Brian Fournier began the presentation for the Elementary School budget. Brian commented “ to have everything in the budget as they had last year would have caused the budget to increase 8.5%". Adjustments have been made to reduce the budget. Loss of Federal and State funding, increases in salaries to meet contractual obligations and health care increases have made it impossible to maintain a zero based budget. The Board asked the teachers to re-open their contract to reduce cost. The teachers refused the offer. One teacher is retiring and another is not returning after a maternity leave. These positions will not be filled as enrollment is down from 549 last year to 515 students this year. Special Education costs are up due to a student placement out of district. The budget submitted, eliminating 2.5 positions, has increased $151,034 over last year’s budget, or a 2.43% increase over all.

Capital Expenditure requests were reviewed. The science lab equipment and technology infrastructure requests were addressed by Chip Spear and Stephen Squinto. Both made suggestions to ask industry in the area to donate recycled lab and computer equipment. Other schools in the area have made such requests and have received excellent equipment donations.

Brian Laubstein spoke regarding increases in the Board of Education budget. Brian indicated that the increases each year are “tough on taxpayers”. Private industry is not receiving increases such as the teachers are. He is glad to hear that the extra dollars not spent for necessities were returned to the General Fund last fiscal year.

Lisa Gaw also echoed the sentiments of Brian Laubstein. She feels that the teachers should again be asked to give concessions as the general public is being forced to do in industry. Both she and her husband have taken pay cuts recently not increases. They have also been asked to co-pay on benefits for the first time.

Bob Thomas also spoke in support of keeping the budget of the Board of Education under control. He owns a computer business and would be willing to donate computers to the school.

Matt Fletcher also agreed with the other comments about keeping control on budgets in this economy.

Robert Brinton Jr. would like to see budget reduced by possibly eliminating one headmaster as enrollment is dropping.

John Grabowski felt that there was a lot of play with the number of interns being used. Are we sure how many are actually being used? Is there six, nine, or twelve? That is never made clear at the Board of Education meetings he has attended.

Sally Huyser would like a full explanation on whether administration can be cut back. She also questioned the extra salary given to the headmasters when they work in the summer months.

Chip Spear would also like more information on the administrative needs. With dropping enrollment he would like to see a plan on the restructuring of class size.

Stephen Squinto felt more information regarding the reduction of general education by -1.75% and the increase in administration by 3.83% would be helpful.

Adjournment was called at 9:40 p.m. after a motion was moved by Sally Huyser and seconded by Chip Spear. The vote taken was unanimous.

Respectfully submitted,

June G. Riley
Clerk, Board of Finance