Sunday, August 23, 2009

Replenishing the schools' rainy day fund

BOE member Gerry Brittingham wants to ensure the schools' rainy day fund is replenished in a timely manner.

Tim White


Anonymous said...

So according to the article, of the $350,000 there is still $280,000 left in the account. If the board is concerned about a heating/cooling unit at Highland (each unit costing 45 - 50K) then there's still plenty in the fund to cover a broken unit.

Besides, when the units that are being replaced now were not functioning the way they wanted them to, the school went out and bought a several a/c window units (used them for no more than 1 school year, maybe less). They should have those laying around some place if they need them in an emergency.

Anonymous said...

the Register article said "...“You don’t buy yourself a whole lot of time by repairing one of these units,” he said. “The question becomes how much to want invest in one these units before you buy a new one.” ..."

Ah our marvelous school superintendant speaking like one of CTs best public employee maintenance professionals.

It sure sounds like his guy comes from the school of 'run it until it breaks' and then panic.

Clearly the superintendent is out of his league on important maintenance issues and philosophies.

The TC needs to insure hired officials like the superintendent are not playing politics with town assets and tax payers money.

Anonymous said...

The district is getting the other two heating and cooling units at Highland School replaced this summer, Florio said.

Work started on these A/C units at Highland at the end of last school year. Apparently Florio is unaware of the fact that the A/C units themselves are not even in yet and cannot be installed. They're due to be delivered sometime in September.

Isn't it that local company doing this job too? Imagine not having the units ready to be installed in a timely manner.

Anonymous said...

This fund is an excuse for administrative failure. The BE should have paid for an analysis of energy on their buildings to find out what and when in a time frame items would have required replacement. Armed with that they could have introduced these costs into the operating or capital budget process. It appears they are off doing an emergency replacement because it falls under the disguise of an emergency. Under this rule they the BOE think the emergency funds will be automatically replenished each year with taxpayer question. A foolish approach.

Anonymous said...

"This fund is an excuse for administrative failure"

If the town had an adequate maintenance program for town assets a fund like this could be used to deal with the few unanticipated failures that well maintained machines and facilities normally suffer.

In the case of the town it appears based upon actual performance that there really isn't any productive planned and executed routine maintenance on things in general.

Reality appears to be the town through its bureaucracy, believes in and practices run until it fails maintenance all while looking the other way. Furnaces and cooling systems can and do run for decades when well maintained on a daily, monthly and yearly basis.

Predicting when to replace can be done with some certainty too. It only requires a bit of economic and technical analysis.

This town has practiced the grand scramble at the failure point time and again. There is always the local contractor available to play the hero of the moment to fix the failure quick and move on. But this goes on and on with no end in sight.

Clearly the school superintendent as well as the town government needs to get past these heroics as a means of operating town facilities.

Until the superintendent gets beyond heroics type maintenance he should not be rewarded with a constant rainy day fund. If he could get his act together the rainy day fund could again be used for its intended purpose. It should not be used as a reward for someone who failed to provide for necessary routine maintenance.

Anonymous said...

Of course you do know that the super would tell you that he couldn't perform routine maintenance because his total budget requests get reduced by the boe & tc each year.

But if you ask me, having 60 million (give or take a few thousand) should be enough. And despite any reduction that the boe or tc would make to his budget, everyone should realize that the education budget does increase every year. There has never been a year that we haven't increased the budget.

Anonymous said...

"Of course you do know that the super would tell you that he couldn't perform routine maintenance ..."

All too often the TC succumbs to rhetoric and hype of the likes of the superintendent and his many subordinate minions. The heating/cooling equipment, roofs, parking lots, playing fields and windows will continue to offer all too often wonderful possibilities for heroic action on the part of the hired superintendent to practice the art of heroics in the field of maintenance. Everybody, Dems and Republicans alike loves a hero, until they begin to see their pockets being cleaned out of hard earned cash.

The town clearly needs to distance itself from the kind of practices being exhibited by the superintendant relative to the rainy day fund. Maybe performance based contracting could knock out the politics played by the superintendent associated with maintenance issues and go a long way to a true reduction in expenses as well as improving facility safety and comfort.