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School Budget Looms Heavy Over Amity Towns

Teachers have made compromises, but should more be done to bring down the numbers?

have agreed to a pay freeze and increased insurance deductions to keep the school budget in check as reported by the New Haven Register. Still, the Amity school budget is looking at a 2.8% expenditure increase of $1.6 million.

Orange will carry the lion's share of the increase with $1.3 million, with the other $300,000 landing on Bethany. Woodbridge, with decreased enrollment, actually decreases by .72 percent, as detailed in the Amity Observer.

With the the economy still struggling to rebound, can the board of education justify that kind of increase?

Sue Ellen February 06, 2012 at 12:32 PM
More does need to be done and has to be balanced against what is needed ti ensure a quality education. Perhaps it is time to introduce - pay to play. I know that this is a hot topic, but where do you get the monies from. Look at going totally bookless and move to an online where it is cheaper. Look at all contractual items and go out to bid again to get the best prices. Take a hard look at staffing and perhaps not replace those that leave through attrition where possible. What is interesting is that over the past 5 years or so, they have lost a good number of senior teaching staff which results in bringing in newer teachers at lower salaries - so, the question begs...what is the ratio of teachers versus 5 years ago and where are those dollars going? Is the pricing model used to charge back to each town a formula that is used by other regional school districts? If it is, fine...if not survey the state for the most common formula and process done. When enrollment is decreasing and costs are increasing at highly incremental rates...something is not quite right and the BOE and administration needs to stop with vodoo accounting and have it be quite transparent to everyone and have the numbers factually tie out.
Keith Marquis February 06, 2012 at 03:16 PM
We continue to ask this question. Perhaps Patch can post a link to the budget if it is posted online so that the public can look at it. I can state the Orange BOE Teachers, Administrators, and the other unions have taken a 0% increase and increased contributions to their health plans in the first years of their negotiated contracts. EVERYONE IN TOWN has been facing cuts since 2008...except AMITY. It is only right that AMITY understand and do likewise. When the economy is down and everyone is facing reductions, layoffs and terminations to fit a tighter budget, AMITY should not be adding 2.8%. You can say contracts are driving the budget, but the economy has been poor for the last 5 years and the new contracts should have reflected the same economic condition. The Orange OBOE has also worked with UI and CNG to upgrade the systems to save power, electric and oil consumption. Orange OBOE has joined consortiums with other towns to lower costs of products and supplies. If a repair is needed OBOE tries to make those repairs within our standing budget. AMITY asks for additional funding in their budget for any repairs that may or may not come. There are cuts that can be made in ANY budget. It is a matter of sitting down, looking at the numbers and asking " Is this a true NEED vs. Want and "Is there availability of funds?" Remember, AMITY's enrollment continues to decline since 2008, yet their budget is up approx 10% (going to approx. 12.5%) if this budget is passed.
Christi March 20, 2012 at 08:03 PM
It is also important to remember that one of the reasons we all choose to move to a town in this school system is because of the high quality education that the Amity system provides. You do have to pay for good teachers, quality programs, and updated/increased technology that is so vital to competing in this new global and technologically advanced world. Also, important to remember that it is easy to toss around statistics and percentages, the breakdowns of those aren't as eye-catching and attention grabbing as the total number though. So, that is why they are often used, you should really attend meetings and read through the proposal to TRULY understand where all of the money is allocated to.
Barbara T. March 20, 2012 at 11:43 PM
Christi declined enrollment means declined budget not higher. Amity needs to get the budget under control instead of year after year budget increases. If Orange can keep their budget down so can Amity. Most of the people have read what Dr. Brady has said and also people do listen to OGAT on TV and can see what is going on with Amity they are out of control with their spending. Some people in all towns are out of work incase you haven't realized that and the extra tax burden that Amity is putting of people is in disbelief. I for one will vote NO as it is everyone's right how to vote and I am not ashamed to say my vote is NO.Some of us may have lived in this town far longer then you have and see how the budget increases year after year. By the way I do believe in a good education for children and that can be done without year after year Amity increasing the budget.
Judy Johnson March 21, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Very well said Barbara T. Everyone needs to get out and VOTE!!! As for me it's NO

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