FISCAL YEAR 2019 - WESTON TOWN SIDE AND SCHOOL SIDE
Never too early to talk budgets...so what is a "mil?" This is the
increase to your property tax bill expressed in a confusing way.
Latin for the value of the budget divided by the Grand List (minus outside funding) multiplied by 1000.
CONTENTS: BUDGET REVIEW SCHEDULE 2018-19
- THE FINAL ACTION: Board of Finance sets the mill rate...and now the budget process itself is all over.
- REFERENDUM voting continued on Saturday April 28, 2018 from 9am
to 8pm (at Town Hall). All three budgets pass easily.
- ATBM - Only 105 voters present - requires 130 for a quorum
at 8pm - W.H.S. Auditorium. Meeting is adjourned to the Referendum in HS library.
- DELIBERATION MEETING - April 3, 2018 (Tuesday) at 7pm in the Town Hall Annex...
- BOARD OF FINANCE PUBLIC HEARING March 27th
- BOARD OF EDUCATION UP NEXT ON MARCH 8th, 13th, then the 14th,
- On to the Board of Finance in March - 5th Selectmen, 7th Education. Depending on the weather...make that the 8th.
- First Selectman presented his budget to Board of Selectman, Monday, Feb. 12, 2018; Selectmen act on it Feb. 20th;
- Board of Selectmen review (no ACTION to reduce it allowed) of the Board of Education proposed budget FY'19.
- Capital Budget proposals by School and Town review...
- Board of Education Budget FY'19
- CAPITAL BUDGET COMMITTEE meets January 30th at 8:30am at Town Hall Meeting Room .
- CLICK HERE FOR FY '19 BUDGET PROCESS SCHEDULE.
- And what effect will perpetual 2017 Special Session or regular Legislative activity have?
- Speaking of others involved in the process, how about State and Regional input into local budget-making?
- How are other towns dealing with changes to the budget landscape?
- What is the significance to Weston of Supreme CT decision on C.C.J.E.F.? What will the Legislature do (relates to Sheff as well???)?
- OPM reveals the biggest debtor communities (DEBT PER CAPITA) - and we're #2 in the
DRG and #10 in the state (link doesn't work any more):
- Remember this story? Oldie but goodie - provides background
of why the "15 years" is used for calculating the end of the fiscal
crisis for us: http://www.theday.com/article/20140112/NWS12/140119903
GET READY. GET SET...WHERE ARE WE NOW?
"Cliff notes" for Weston Budget Process. Click above to enlarge.
About Weston will follow the FY'19 education budget meetings right HERE:
WESTPORT THE NEW GREENWICH?
Above from May 8, 2018 WestportNOW article regarding Westport's budget - zero increase.
The real numbers here for Weston:
At a Special Board of Finance Meeting on May 3rd at 3pm, the mill rate
for Fiscal Year 2018-19 was set at 29.39. This represents an
increase of 1.66% or .48 mills over the present fiscal year.
Previously, the increase had been stated as 1.69, but there are various
ways the Finance Board can alter this (i.e. collection rate assumption,
NO QUORUM. ON TO REFERENDUM VOTING
WHAT THE CHARTER SAYS: https://www.ecode360.com/29899112
And then after the Public Hearing, on April 3rd, "Deliberation" and then ATBM
PLUS new responsibilities if all or part is rejected at Referendum.
DELIBERATION MEETING PLUS - AGENDA
Discussion of our O.P.E.B. fund discount rate...Weston more than 80% toward current obligations...
Assistant Superintendent of Special Education to be hired NEW in this budget.
"Deliberation" meeting had to be relocated to Town Hall Annex on School
Road - time changed to 7PM - because of Dog Park machine vote
You'll want the numbers:
$13,047,298 Town operating budget - reduced from $13,072,298
$675, 247 Capital Budget (joint) - reduced from $1,085,247
$51,390,156 Education operating budget - reduced from $51,626,536
There were cuts made. After discussion - 3 hr meeting.that also
included a discussion first with financial consultant regarding
percentage we should assume on return from investments.
Bottom line: 1.69 percent tax increase, down from 2.84 percent. (OOPS. We had previously said "1.67%" but I guess we were too eager to get that number down even further!!!)
WHAT COMES AFTER BOARD OF FINANCE PUBLIC HEARING ON THE BUDGET? DELIBERATION.
Board of Finance PUBLIC HEARING on FY'19 Budget March 27, 2018 at 8pm in the WMS Library...
- Why is it that some people like to "sit in the back of the
- No presentation from Selectmen;
- Three spoke about the Town side of the budget, two in favor and another emphasizing the need to support public safety matters.
- No presentation from the Chair. of the Board of Education;
- And I could be wrong, but all I could hear were comments from
parents who spoke. No support from official P.T.O.
organizations. Myself and seven others (one
who spoke twice) testified.
- The meeting ran a bit longer than this number of speakers might
ordinarily take because Board of Finance members tried to make the point
that they were not about to increase or reopen discussion of the School
budget at this point.
The Finance Board, however, was all ears.
Once again we are faced with precisely the issue of choices. With
limited $$ available how does the Board of Finance "read" the competing
As mentioned already, they heard loud and clear from parents who might well vote "NO" on the
school budget. "NO" because it was prepared prior to
Parkland/Westport events. Mentioned already as well, the BOE budget includes a cut in the
number of security personnel. It was suggested that the Referendum
ballot include a "too high"or "too low" for "NO" voters. The
Registrars were present to hear this, and one came to the mic and
reminded those in charge that they had to make a decision quick because
the Referendum ballot form was being prepared now...
In a $50 million budget there might be a way to find the funds to restore two guards?
LEADING THE CHARGE...
Lesson from Newtown - sue the Town.
WORK THE SYSTEM?
Protest by voting "no" on the budget and having the opportunity to
indicate if it is "too high" or "too low" - this seems to be the next
REGISTRAR OF VOTERS MAKES A VERY GOOD POINT.
Ballots are being designed NOW for Saturday April 28th Referendum (I'm
not sure, but this is probably
something that has to be run by the Secretary of the State's Office
before printing the ballot). If you want to ask "too high" or "too
low" of "NO" votes, it has to be approved pretty soon, I would think.
The natives are restless
It is like post-Newtown all over again. That was the message from
parents present. They want a do-over on this School Budget - and not
to cut the extra protection at the entry to elementary/intermediate schools - middle school not mentioned..
Superintendent of Schools explains the Board's logic.
(R) Front row holds Board of Education (Special Ed, Chair. [hidden]
Assistant Superintendent, Superintendent, Director of Finance);
First Selectman and Town Administrator
TO BE CONTINUED AT THE "DELIBERATION MEETING" TUESDAY APRIL 3, 2018 at 7PM IN THE TOWN HALL ANNEX...
We asked, as a "point of information" if this meeting (DELIBERATION")
would be on WGTV available to the public, and were assured it would be streamed live and recorded for replay. I
BOARD OF FINANCE REVIEWED EDUCATION BUDGET MARCH 14th, Wednesday
We watched from home sporadically. Missed IT matter. Did anyone question anything? From
what we saw, not really. A lot of "we can't discuss this in
public" and the Police Chief was there to say Weston is way ahead of
other districts in having plans in place and "hardening" the campus -
and the proxiity to the Annex, where police have technology outpost as
well as "right out my window" of Hurlbutt, should make it safer than
anything he seemed to ne familiar with.
EDUCATION BUDGET TO BE REVIEWED MARCH 13 TUES. AT 7:30PM, TOWN HALL MEETING ROOM
To be asked...NOT
QUESTIONS ON I.T. CHANGES FOR SURE
Impending snow event Wednesday makes the scheduled "second night" the new date Thursday...nope...
On to the Finance Board. Our "coverage"
is more atmospheric than reportorial as we had been at meetings since a
Special Selectmen's Meeting at 6pm.
How did it go for the First Selectman?
After watching what he had already had seen (see packet with the same
slides in front of him) Finance Board member wonders to himself about
where all this is heading...we think.
- Finance Board made up of people who's responsibility is to keep the ship
afloat. So reference by First Selectman to perhaps spending down
from surplus got a few raised eyebrows...
FULL HOUSE AS CLOCK STRUCK 8:45PM. ACTION comes at "DELIBERATION" meeting.
Finance Board review begins and they seem somewhat annoyed that the crowd is getting antsy.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST...
INTERESTED PARTIES STAYED TO THE BITTER END
Note the available seating - over a total three-hour
meeting but they got through it and indicated, at least to my
satisfaction, that Finance would restore "POCD" full funding after
SELECTMEN VOTED ON FIRST SELECTMAN"S BUDGET
PREPARING FOR ATBM: Selectmen vote to recommend Susan Moch Moderator, Woody Bliss Parliamentarian.
After discussing at length what a cut to the Selectmen's budget at
$13,072,298 unanimously approved. Only change was in Police
Department at their request and a $10,000 cut in the Capital Budget item
Power Point first. Now online.
Many department heads present. First Selectman's Budget
presentation questioned first by his Board. Streamed live, now
online, plus documentation.
Percentage increases as taken from printed materials:
Look for Special Appropriations outside the budget process for roof for firehouse and related capital projects.
- 2.64% increase, Town side,
- 3.44% increase Bd of Ed,
- Capital budget up 44.74%.
FIRST SELECTMAN PRESENTED HIS BUDGET
We covered this as a meeting of the Board of Selectmen - our comments here.
And some were made...
TUESDAY FEBRUARY 6TH...SELECTMEN REVIEW BOARD OF ED BUDGET (CANNOT CUT IT, ONLY MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS).
We note for the record that About Town has been rebuked by Board of Education Chair. regarding "accuracy" re: COMPANY. We note that the About Town column is an opinion piece.
We certainly apologize to this very new Board of Education if we made
their life more difficult. They are dealing with a financial
situation offering few solutions other than what has been forthrightly
defined as a major change in approach to how to retain the quality of
our education system. They have a hard row to hoe.
Bravo Town of Weston for showing 10-year view, too!!! Represented below those town departments and school numbers via pdf the total number for both.
CAPITAL BUDGET COMMITTEE
January 30, 2018 in the Town Hall Meeting Room
A terrific meeting, 90 minutes in length, covered school and town
capital needs. A spreadsheet showing DRAFT of this part of the FY'19
budget PLUS last year's budget number PLUS a ten tear look-out
framework, was very impressive!
In the audience were Police Chief and Captain, Library Board Facilities
chair. and new Chair. of the Board plus Town Librarian. They were
called upon to explain further how and why their capital expenses are as
they are. Building Committee Chair. present up front, too.
We note that there are some changes coming regarding internet
connectivity (I may be using the wrong terms here) with discussion about
"servers" and "security" and why the school had to be held separate
from the Town server/system...Education Technology Director to be
consulted off-line. Superintendent and Vice-Chair. of the Board of
Education plus Facilities Director present.
About Town will tune in Wednesday, Jan.24th at 6pm for Board of
Education discussion for approval and vote. We will not be able to
watch the individual school or special ed or athletics nights detailing
those parts of the Superintendent's budget.
T H E S C H O O L S I D E
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2018, 7:30PM
BOARD OF SELECTMEN REVIEW BOARD OF EDUCATION BUDGET REQUEST
BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING JAN. 24, 2018
Prior to the decision on the Superintendent's budget
for FY'19, two items were discussed. With public comment added (we
note that the agenda was amended but was this allowed by F.O.I. rules?)
The item that really got me was COMPANY!
plea to restore .2 tenths of time for teacher who holds together the theatre programs at the
Intermediate, Middle School and High School (which has a magnificent club - "Company!). This was the
unkindest cut of all.
And when it came to whittling down the proposed "Superintendent's"
budget, try as hard as they could, they could only get it down to
3.17%. With significant contributions from brand new members and
awesomeness from other new members, I was satisfied that they had done
their very best.
Searching questions about I.T. divorce from the Town of Weston, who will
outsource their I.T. came up. What had been a noble try at
cooperation by the whole government -Town, Library and Emergency
Services with schools - has been reduced to Fire Department and/or
Regarding our guess on the final number - only one member of the school
board sought to keep their increase lower. We note this is the
most experienced member of the majority. One who has lived through
the wrath of the Board of Finance...
On the matter of the Company request, we tuned out before the final
vote, but confirmed later with Forum editor who had been in attendance
that the item for Company was not discussed during budget debate.
EVENTUAL BENEFIT TO FUTURE OPERATING BUDGETS?
After a Special Meeting at 6pm that eventually, after an Executive
Session, approved waiving a Board Policy, approved action in public
session allowing Town to pursue potential of virtual net metering.
Overview and Executive Summary FY'19
The focus is on 4 areas.
- It began with a declaration that high school graduation in the air conditioned gym was part of the budget reduction process.
- Power Point showing points of emphasis above. It was noted
that 98% of budget shortfall was due to special ed outplacements.
- Chart shows: Five (5) years worth of out-placements averaging
$48,000 per year and increasing numbers of them - because families
prove they can't get adequate services within the Weston Education
- 20% of the students are Special Education and another category I didn't make out. NOTE: The
current type of special education student is changing from the past generation's needs, according to Superintendent.
Bottom line is a 3.6% increase - but only 1.2% increase for the rest
of the budget other than Special Education - at least that's what I
heard over the Education Channel 78.
The Weston Board of Education did an awesome press release on its meetings in runup to adopting a 2018-19 school budget.
- Tuesday, Jan. 16 Budget presentation, 7 p.m., Weston Middle School
Library (televised). Presentation of requested operating and capital
- Thursday, Jan. 18 Budget Question & Answer Session, 7 p.m., Weston Middle School Library (televised).
- Monday, Jan. 22 Budget Question & Answer session if needed, 6 p.m., Weston Middle School Library (televised).
- Wednesday, Jan. 24 Board of Education meeting, 6 p.m., Weston
Middle School Library (televised). Approval and adoption of the budget.
DEMOGRAPHICS ? HOW DOES THIS RELATE? Weston interested in answers to both questions. Crowd-funding an option in the school budget climate today?
2017 SPECIAL SESSION LINK
5-part series: Especially #1 and #5. Spending Cap Commission
(Summer 2016) wins out in Biennial Budget. OP-ED on education. "Extra Special Session Day Do-Over?" Pun alert. And then the sad story of CT-N from AP.
LAWS IN EFFECT OCT. 1; JULY 1, 2017: https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/aearchives/20170701ActsEffective.asp
It never ends!
Six (6) new Mayors and First Selectmen will be seated on the 18 member Board after Nov. 7 Election Day results.
First Selectman Spaulding had attended the
September and October 2016 WestCOG meetings. Shown seated to his
left, re-elected Westport First Selectman Marpe.
NEWS REPORTS FROM ELSEWHERE
"Preston — Voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved the $11.8 million
school budget in the third referendum, allowing the Board of Finance to
set the 2018-19 tax rate at 26.03 mills.
"Voters approved the budget 410 to 300. The original $11.9 million
budget had failed twice in earlier referendums, forcing the town to
delay sending out tax bills, normally mailed by July 1. The Board of
Finance ultimately cut $215,000 from the proposed school budget,
bringing it to $11,831,804.
"The approval came about one week before school starts next Wednesday..."
Well well now...
STORY OF REGIONALIZATION COMMITTEE FOR DERBY AND ANSONIA: https://www.nhregister.com/local/article/Ansonia-Derby-school-regionalization-committee-to-13007455.php
"...Jeremy Musnicki, a parent of three schoolchildren, said the public
debate over the money has been an embarrassment since last week, when
Superintendent of Schools...announced the district was out of money,
schools may close early and payroll may not be met." Unlike some
of the other budget stories below, Ansonia crosses over to other issues
facing municipalities. Who is in charge of the school budget when
much of the funding comes from the State of Connecticut?.
Story in full: https://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Ansonia-Alderman-approve-a-budget-without-more-12985985.php
Question #1 - Redding budget fails by 4 votes. Question #2 -
Region 9 budget passes (total of votes from both towns) in Redding
Redding Finance Board makes cuts. Second Referendum vote June 5th: https://aspetuck.news/lead-news/half-a-million-dollars-cut-from-rejected-town-budget-104380
We wonder how this affects Joel Barlow Regional high school budget...is
not Redding Committed to paying whatever the Regional Board of Education
says vis a vis shared expense with Easton if voters in both towns together agree?
Easton does not have a Charter - they just turned their ATBM into a Public Hearing!
"Hoping for restoration."
After cuts from last hear, "the new $105,666,982 budget for 2018-19 will represent an increase of 2.2 percent."
COURANT 1-5-18: http://www.courant.com/community/glastonbury/hc-news-glastonbury-school-budget-20180104-story.html
Bethel rejects town, capital budgets, passes school budget:
April 11, 2018
BETHEL — Voters rejected the town and capital budgets Wednesday night, but approved the school spending plan.
The town’s $29.8 million share of the overall budget failed narrowly
with 1,400 votes in favor and 1,466 votes against, while the $45.1
million school budget passed 1,505 to 1,351, according to unofficial
The $2.3 million capital budget, which included funding for a turf
field, failed with 1,296 votes in favor and 1,560 against. Turnout was
at 25 percent...
BROOKFIELD SCHOOL BUDGET FY'19
Proposed by Superintendent. Special education costs - an unpredictable number - up.
BROOKLYN & TOWNS IN EASTERN CT
"After the state announced a second, more costly round of cuts,
schools in Eastern Connecticut are combing through their already tight
budgets. Towns like Brooklyn, Griswold and Plainfield are seeing some of
the highest reductions in the state, with Montville and Lebanon not far
It ain't over 'til it's over department: School budget goes down by 10 votes in delayed Referendum, back to voters
Election over, Superintendent proposes a 2.2% increase (bumped up to
4.3% since Greenwich will now put cost of school bus service in
education budget - had been on Town side previously).
Death and taxes and inverse results of taxing policies. Will Tax Bill make it to the President's desk?