Sunday, September 27, 2009

Introduction to Tony Perugini (BOE - R)

Here is a brief introduction to the Republican Board of Education candidate Tony Perugini:

Tim White


Anonymous said...

I hope Tony can get some answers for us.

I am extremely concerned that this council will allow the $500K that is to be voted on as a referendum this November to be used to fund the turf. The question is extremely vague.

I went on the BOE site to read the minutes from their meeting held on 9/17, but they haven't been posted yet. Why the delay?

Hopefully this question will be re-worded or they will get a definite no from me.

Tony Perugini said...

Wow...I look awful. So that's what 10 miles of unpaved road looks like. LOL. The 20-30 cups of coffee was wearing off when Tim recorded that take earlier this evening. :-) It was a long weekend of walking door to door but the effort is well worth it. I'm getting a ton of great feedback from folks. Keep it coming! We're listening to you and we're bringing accountability back to Cheshire!

As for the $500K, namely the specifics... I still don't know. I'm looking at the 2009/2010 Capital Expenditure Budget and line #17 lists "Infrastructure Improvement at Cheshire High School" $500K Adoption, $500K Amount to be Bonded.

I will ask for the specifics at the next Town Council meeting and the upcoming BOE Open Forum meeting on 10/1. I'll post results here.

As for the approval of the meeting minutes: I've found that takes 1-2 meetings to get them approved. Since 10/1 is a non-business meeting I don't expect the 9/17 minutes to be approved until later in October.

Without knowing the specifics, I have to vote "No" on this question. How can anyone vote on something they don't understand?

Anonymous said...

Tony, The $500,000 infrastructure improvements at CHS that'll be on as a referendum question are for the following:
$350,000 for relocation of CHS locker rooms and the balance is related to some improvement with Home Ec Dept.

I asked a boe member if they can spend that money on whatever they want, and they confirmed that they could. So even though the back up for the request lists the 2 above projects, they could redirect the money anyway they want.

Until that referendum question gets reworded, I'm voting NO.

Also, the 9/17 meeting was airing on channel 16, but it's been pulled. I checked last night, and it wasn't there. The boe is notorious for not airing meetings.

I suggest if anyone has questions, they should email the turf committee chairperson, Bob Behrer at

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:40 AM

The BOE member is mistaken. Bond money that is voted for a specific purpose/project, Home Ec and lockers has to be spent on that project. If all of the money appropriated isn't spent it sits in the account until reappropriated, this could be hundreds or low thousands of dollars not hundreds of thousands.

If none of the money is expended for the approved project because another emergency project comes up it can only be redirected after the new project is identified and approved at a referendum.

In other words if the BOE decided not to do the lockers and the home Ec project that money can't be diverted elsewhere by caviat.

Town Council recently transfered a lot of money from many different project accounts sitting idle in finance dept. spreadsheets to debt service. It dawned on them that that wasn't a great practice. Some of that money was not spent because of state funding reimbursemnts. Other instances resulted from town management over estimating some project costs. Many of these were also very old accounts.

This may not be a reason to vote for the $500,000 bond issue for lockers and home ec upgrades but turf is not a reason to vote against it either.

If turf fields are going to cost a million dollars the referendum would state its 1 million cost, and the $500,000 offset from state grant and $500,000 being issued by the Cheshire taxpayer if approved. If the project eventually costs 1.2million there will have to be a referendum for the additional $200,000K.

I'm not a turf supporter and I'm using these costs for illutrative purposes only.

Tim Slocum

Anonymous said...

"If none of the money is expended for the approved project because another emergency project comes up it can only be redirected after the new project is identified and approved at a referendum"

So if, say $350,000 of the $500,000 gets spent, leaving $150,000 supposedly intended for Home Ec stuff, are you saying, Tim S., that the boe can't just redirect the $150,000 towards their turf project? I would think they's under the referendum amount and maybe they'll just need a boe vote to redirect it.

Anonymous said...

A Million dollar turf field is not 150,000 Home Ec repair. They could ask to redirect but its part of a much bigger project cost and therefore subject to public referendum.

I'm certain the town's bond council would be very wary of a trick like this as should every responcible elected official. At the very least this would come back to Town Council as part of the Capital Expenditure planning process.

Tim Slocum

Anonymous said...

Tim S.
The problem is, the referendum is not specific. Everybody says it's for the lockerrooms, but it doesn't specifically say that.
Are you saying that the TC will make sure it is used properly by the BOE? Wew all know that the majority would love to get the turf.

I think this question needs to be more specific. Why can't it say the money will be used towards lockerrooms?

By the way, didn't we get an estimate or a plan for exactly what needs to be done with the locker rooms? Or are we just pulling $500K out of thin air?

Anonymous said...

On page 9-10 of the proposed 2009-2010 Cap budget, which was adopted in September, there is breakdown for the 500K. It states...Locker room relocation-350,000K,"fixing the boys locker issue is the number one priority at this time" -Home Ec room renovations-35 K and Hall Lockers $115,000. (replacing all of the hall lockers is a much bigger number than $115,000). The adopted resolution CEB 18 is clearly vague but the back up is clear. And I do think they will spend the money where they say they will. If you think it is too vague go with your instincts.

The referendum questions go along with the local election. Who's to say the next TC majority will favor turf?

Tim Slocum

tim white said...

Here is my Aug 17 post on the $500k referendum question.

The Sptd's budget clearly states the locker rooms are the "#1 priority."

Anonymous said...

Tim W. & Tim S.
Is this something you would vote in favor of, considering the vagueness of the question?

When they say "relocation" of the lockerrooms, where will they be putting them?

Anonymous said...

12:42 They're considering putting the new locker rooms down by the football field. All the more reason to use the grant money for this supposed "high priority" item.

And, Tim S., I realize $150,000 isn't enough for the turf project, but with a $525K grant, some fund raising, say $150K or so, the balance of the CB item of $150,000 could come in handy.
I think part of the problem is, is that we don't trust the current majority in managing these tax dollars.

Let's hope that November 3rd brings some changes to the BOE & TC.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and check channel 16 tonight at 9:05...they should have that turf committee report back on the air.

Tony Perugini said...

I think that the referendum question should be specific and list the Locker Room Relocation ($350K), Home Ec Room ($35K) and Hall Lockers ($115K). I trust what Tim S says regarding the backup material in the '09/'10 cap budget. But I think that being specific in this ballot question is just good practice and should ease fears about exactly where the money will be spent. It just seems like common sense.

- Tony P

Anonymous said...

This committee is not looking out for the health and safety of the children. This turf "STUFF" is still being investigated by the State of CT. How is it that they said it was OK? This makes no sense to me. They are not or didn't do a good job. I'm not surprised because of who is on the committee. Someone stop this madness.

Tony Perugini said...

I encourage everyone to come to the 10/1 BOE Open Forum meeting. This is a great opportunity to sit down with the turf sub-committee, for example, and ask the BOE members specifics. If you can't make it, please post or email me the question(s)/concern(s) you want addressed and I'll be happy to follow through for you.

The only way we're going to change anything is to do the right thing and elect responsible candidates on 11/3. It's time to remove folks that are being irresponsible and seem content that taking from the responsible is the norm. 11/3...don't forget the date!

Anonymous said...

Tony, Here is the agenda for the boe's 10-1 meeting:
Open Forum -
A. 7:30 - 8:00 Curriculum Committee
(Hellreich,Brittingham, Mrowka)
Policy Committee

B. 8:00 - 8:30 Planning Committee
Finanace Committee
(Massey,Sobol, Behrer)
Times are approximate.

Tour of Dedicated Science Room.

I don't see the "Turf Committee" listed here so who knows if they'll take any or many questions about it.

But if they do, ask them this:

If you were able to use the $525,000 grant for one of two things, which would you choose:
1. Turf Field
2. Replacing some of the 18 lost teaching positions, replace cuts to textbooks & supplies, reinstate the AP class at CHS that was cut.

It's a simple question requiring a simple answer - either 1 or 2.

Their individual answers will tell the voters all they'll need to know come election time.

S. Zentek

Anonymous said...

Ok, Tony, where'd you go?? Any luck at the Boe open forum?

Tony Perugini said...

Ok, Tony, where'd you go?? Any luck at the Boe open forum?

I didn't go far. :-) I did attend the open BOE forum Thursday night. I was going to ask Tim White if he could post my write up about my experience that evening but I'll post here, for now.

First, I want to thank all of the board members for answering my questions. They were more than forthcoming in helping me understand some of their issues/concerns. It was also refreshing to see the public in attendance asking questions as well. I'd like to see more of this free exchange of issues/ideals between the BOE and public in the future. I feel its something we just don't do very often.

That aside, I'm extremely disappointed with the answers I received. For starters, I asked Bob Behrer about specifics regarding the referendum question on the $500K for CHS infrastructure upgrades. I told him that we need to get specific as voters are skeptical on what this money will be used for and may vote against it since it's not clear what it will be used for. His response:

"That's not the BOE's problem. You will have to talk to the Town Council about changing the question. We don't control it." HUH?!?

I then met with the finance sub-committee. When I mentioned my name the BOE members Massey, Behrer and Hellreich immediately got into "campaign mode". The next 40 minutes was about all of the good they have done, how efficient they have been with the education budget and how dire the need is to spend money on our aging 30 year old school buildings.

When I pressed Mr. Massey about the referendum question he stated "...there is no issue. People are making an issue out of nothing."

Additionally, Mr. Massey explained that, as far as he was concerned, the BOE has done an "outstanding" job educating the public on this question and he felt there was nothing more that had to be communicated on the matter.

I specifically asked if the $500K was going to spent on the boy lockers rooms, hall lockers and home ec room renovations. But I received no confirmation that this would indeed be the case.

Instead, I was told that "Yes, the money could be spent on things LIKE the locker rooms, etc." but no specifics.

It was only Mr. Behrer that explained the reasons for being vague on the ballot question. He stated that if the question was specific and an emergency came up whereby they needed that money for a roof repair, they would not be able to re-purpose it and it could work against them. However, I have a problem with this argument...not that the argument itself is wrong (although there's a deeper root problem with the approach) but we already have money set aside in the budget for "emergency" infrastructure spending.

Secondly, Mr. Massey told me "Tony, every year we ask for this money and nobody has complained why is it an issue now?" HUH?!? Mr. Massey believes that you, the voters, have no issues with this question and that the Republicans are making an issue out of "nothing".

I put forth to the BOE, then, that if there's no issue, nothing being hidden, then there's no reason NOT to be specific on this ballot question. After all, we have 3 specific items in the '09/'10 capital budget that this money is supposedly being allocated for: Relocation of the boys locker room at CHS, Hall Lockers and Home Ec room renovations. If it's specific in the budget then why NOT make it specific on the ballot question?!?

My concern here folks is that these specific needs are indeed important and needed. Yet, the BOE does not seem to care if voters are confused about the vagueness of the referendum question. It could more than likely be voted down for the wrong reasons when in fact we need it approved for the right reasons.

Telling me (a parent and taxpayer), that "it's not our problem" is perhaps one of the most irresponsible statements I have heard.

So...I'm bringing my question to the town council at the next meeting since I was redirected there from the BOE.

Tony Perugini

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Tony, for the detailed response to what went on at the Boe Open Forum. Tim should "front page" your post so all can read the ridiculous answers you got from some of the Board members. You're exactly right to have an issue with Behrer's excuse of not being specific on the $500K referendum question. Saying that it might be needed for "some other emergency" is a lame answer. They have that $350,000 emergency fund (most of it still intact)and they're already considering asking the council to bump it back to its original $350,000 in case of emergencies in the 09/10 year. Who does Behrer think he's kidding? He even said at the 9/17 board meeting that money might be redirected from the capital budget to cover any shortfall with the turf project.