Thursday, January 07, 2010

Perugini reacts to the Sptd's 2010/11 budget proposal

The Cheshire Superintendent of Schools announced his 2010 / 2011 budget proposal tonight.

So to learn a bit about the budget, I give you a member of the Cheshire Board of Education's freshman class. I know he's well-known to many regulars here already. Here is Tony Perugini offering his immediate reaction to the budget proposal that included a 3.89% increase:

Tim White


Anonymous said...

Not surprised by the increase. I'm glad to see and hear someone that will do their job and look at this budget closely. It will be difficult but a solution will be found that is fair to everyone. Good luck.

Pro Teacher Anti Stupidity said...

Tony is a refreshing presence on the Board of Education and I am certain that he will serve us well in that capacity.

Anonymous said...

The teachers are open to discussion, Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha.

Does anyone really believe that they would give up anything? These people are too overpaid and we should be getting decreases to put the pay scale in line with the private sector.

I can't believe they get raises regardless of their performance and get step increases for having a warm body. In the private sector, you don't get a raise without good performance and there is nothing like automatic promotions, step increases. In the private sector, promotions are based on the needs of an organization and not the number of years you've been around. In the private sector, if you want to get a doctorates degree, you can, but it won;t mean anything unless you perform and qualify to fill an established positon.

The way teachers are compensated is a total mess that is unsustainable.

If the same rules applied to teachers as the private sector, 10% of them would currently be unemployed.

Anonymous said...

Here is in part what was in the Waterbury Republican today -

"Florio said he has been talking with the unions about concessions, which would save him from making painful cuts to services. The much smaller administrators union has already acknowledged that a contract modification can be considered, Florio said. He urged the teachers' union to consider the same. PRESIDENT OF THE CHESHIRE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION BEVERLY JURKIEWICZ SAID OPENING UP THE CONTRACT IS NOT CURRENTLY BEING CONSIDERED. THAT IS NOT IN THE PICTURE AT THE MOMENT, JURKIEWICZ SAID."

I hope they're not going to play the same game they did last year. Perhaps when the board members discuss this at their upcoming budget meetings, they can get it on record what other towns teachers' unions have already made concessions to ease the burden in their towns. It seems that list is growing daily.
Either our teachers' union (& other unions) make some serious concessions or the BoE & TC will have to make some deep cuts.

Tony Perugini said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tony Perugini said...

Tim, I gave you the wrong information in the video. It's a 3.86% increase, not 3.89%. The breakdown is:

2009-2010 Budget $59,450,563
2010-2011 Proposal $61,742,623
Increase $ $2,292,060
Increase % 3.86%

- Tony

Anonymous said...

The super loves to throw out the per pupil spending number and how we rank within the 166 towns. As I understand it debt service plays a role in the calculation and with each towns' varying numbers it gives varying results. Doesn't seem right to try to make it sound like we don't spend that much per pupil. And to us taxpayers most of us don't care about what numbers are created with some formula. We're concerned about the bottom line. If I'm reading the papers correctly, if the budget numbers stay as is, we're looking at an over $400 increase/household in our taxes. THAT CAN'T HAPPEN! It's not even like the add'l $2 plus million increase is going to benefit the kids - most of it is going to pay for the increased salary and benefits.

Tim White said...

Thanks Tony. But about your enrollment numbers above... what is your source? Are you looking at the "enrollment" spreadsheet in GFs budget proposal? If so, double check the column headers. I suspect you may be looking at the first column (birth year) and believing that's the school year... which is probably the third column.

I see 09/10 enrollment as 4,932 (s/b factual based on Oct 1 '09 numbers) and 10/11 projected enrollment at 4,850.

I see your enrollment #s as the 14/15 & 15/16 school years... which is when kids born last year and this year will hit Darcey.

Are we on the same page? I may be missing something.

Anonymous said...

3.86 or 3.89 still means the same thing - too much.

Tony Perugini said...

Tim, I was looking at birth year, my bad. The correct number is 4,850 which is the enrollment number used in the proposed budget. For reference, Tim & I are looking at the NESDC projections.

Tim: I'd like to correct my earlier post quoting the wrong enrollment number. Can I do that or do I need the Blog Guru to help me with that?

- TP

Anonymous said...

If I see one more comment about teachers being overpaid, I may scream. These people are required to earn graduates degrees to keep their jobs, pay for continued education otu of their own pockets, paay for and provide school supplies out fo their own pockets, work longer days than most folks due to preparing assignments, and so forth. So cut the crap, they arent overpaid. Thatbeing said, no one should be getting pay increases for 2010.

Anonymous said...

All I can say is Thank God for Tony Perugini being elected.
Transparency is here finally.
Thnaks for sharing this informatio with all of us.

Thanks to you as well Tim.
I am sure there are some officicials who hat that this information is being shared with the public, but we are the ones who have to foot the bill.

How can a BOE member even say they wouldn't support a 0% increase when the budget was just delivered to them? That tells me that they aren't even looking at it but are just puppets for someone.

Time to cut their strings.

Anonymous said...

"If I see one more comment about teachers being overpaid, I may scream"
Get ready to scream...
I received a graduate degree as well, but I am in the private sector and in a down economy, we don't get pay increases. We do whatever we can to keep our jobs. The teachers would rather cut in other areas then take a lower pay increase. That is he real problem.
Are the teachers over paid? Not all of them, but some are. I personally know some who don't have their certification but continue to teach because they have tenure. Then they have those who take the courses online and get help from whoever they coul. These are the teachers who are overpaid.
There are good ones though and I feel that they are the ones who deserve every penny they get.
This town needs to come up with a good way to evalute teachers and see who blongs and who doesn't.

Anonymous said...

10:56 p.m. "...So cut the crap, they arent overpaid. ..."

Sure sounds like a comment by someone who is out there living in LA LA Land!

Surely if a given teacher were not overpaid a year ago by the end of the current teachers contract that teacher will be overpaid.

If teachers do feel underpaid they are welcome to quit, pack their bags and go find other, better paid work too. If they stick around and whine no doubt they are overpaid especially when benefits are included along with salary dollars.

As for the difficulties in replacing any given teacher there would appear to be a mini-surplus of junior teachers becoming available as well. Towns like Wallingford seem ready to cut over 50 teachers in association with budget issues.

Cheshire must be growing while Wallingford must be shrinking?

Anonymous said...

If the BOE and the teachers get even $1 more, we may end up looking at a dem majority next election. Republicans need to follow through with their promises and cut spending. 0% increase is the only option

Tim White said...

Tony... how about this? As for editing (deleting really), you can do it. But you'll need to sign up as a user. That's very simple, but it'll be another password to remember.

I can't comment on any union talks at this time. As Dr. Florio stated last night we remain hopeful the unions will work with us. Whether or not that happens, we still need to work through this budget.

I'm a bit disappointed to read in today's Wtby Republican that 3 BOE members will not support a zero percent increase. Frankly, I don't know if a zero percent increase is feasible but it's premature, IMO, for any BOE member to take any position on the budget (be it an increase, decrease or no change) at this point since nobody on the BOE has gone through or seen the details until last night. Whatever decision we make as a BOE on this budget, it must be made on facts, accurate facts not emotion. We have a lot of information to work through over the next few weeks.

The budget increase breakdown is as follows:

Teacher Salaries $927,312 (40.46%)
Employee Benefits $729,402 (31.82%)
Special Education $144,373 (6.30%)
Other Salaries $266,848 (11.64%)
Transportation $141,383 (6.17%)
Maintenance $58,865 (2.57%)
All Other Accts $23,877 (1.04%)

85% of the budget increase is due to salaries/benefits...

Dr. Florio provided the BOE with a list of all the Unfunded Mandates we must provide for each year. I asked for this information so that not only could I understand what we're legally obligated to offer but to also help the public understand this detail as well. My goal is to take it a step further and put budget dollars to each mandate so that it's clear which parts of our budget goes towards supporting these unfunded mandates. To some, this information has been a mystery.

A projected enrollment of 4,850 is being used for the 2010-2011 budget proposal. This proposal projects a per student spend of $12,518. ($61,742,623 / 4,932). 4,850 is the projected enrollment number for 2010-2011.

The per student spending based on the current budget of $59,450,563 and enrollment of 4,932 is $12,054.

Note: the above is my own calculation on per student spending which differs from what was presented last night that is defined by the State.

The State says we rank 136/166 School Districts in "Net Current Expenditure Per Pupil" at $11,553 for the '08-'09 School year and I don't believe this reflects reality.

I understand the intent of this measure but it's misleading when presented in certain arguments because the State's definition is "NCE includes all current public elementary and secondary expenditures from all
sources, excluding reimbursable regular education transportation, tuition revenue, capital expenditures for land, buildings and equipment, and debt service."

More info to come later.

Tony Perugini

Tony Perugini said...

"If the BOE and the teachers get even $1 more, we may end up looking at a dem majority next election. Republicans need to follow through with their promises and cut spending. 0% increase is the only option"

A zero percent increase may be an option, it's certainly a possibility, but before I or anyone else on the board recommends a zero percent change, an increase or decrease in the budget we need to do our homework.

Until we've gone through our budget any recommendation made this early in the process is irresponsible. At the very least, IF a zero percent change was recommended, then cuts must be made to the Supers' budget which would be about a $2.3M cut. It would be good to know what those cuts would entail, what would be affected, who would be affected and what the cuts would do to the quality of our education system.

My promise has and always will be to spend efficiently, provide transparency into our finances and bring a broader range of accountability to the BOE. I'm certainly not going to slash or cut spending in an irresponsible manner.

As for the teachers, I know I've stated this many times over the last year but our teachers are a major part of the backbone that is our education system. At the end of the day, no matter how much (or how little) technology we have in the classrooms, no matter how well our courses are designed, no matter how old or new a school building may's the teachers' interaction with our students that makes our education system work. I know that we can argue any of the items I just mentioned but the fact is without good, qualified and effective teachers we don't have an education system, at least not a fully functional one.

So, it's easy to pick on the teachers when looking at the 85% increase related to salaries but that's not my intent. I want to remind everyone that as prominent as the salary/benefits figures may be we also need to look at what's not so prominently displayed in the budget. Everything has to be on the table for consideration.

Sorry for the rant but I am excited to be part of this process and I now I'm off to do some homework on the budget. Thanks for all of the input, keep it coming.

- Tony

Bill said...


I ask you look into the medical benefits account. Every year the Supt receives a renewal notice from Blue Cross. This includes the dental, medical, drug portion. A portion of the medical is self funded, the other is not, there are specific rates for coverage. The main question is the development of the proposed costs for the several portions of the medical benefits. In many past years the actual costs of the medical has been less than than projected and it appears every 5 years the actual exceeds the projected. There has been much discussion about this line over the years. Hope you spend a great deal amount of time reviewing and understanding the details that make up the number.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what the teachers gave up for the raise they agreed to? I know enough about negotiations to know that the BOE didn't just give a raise for nothing. I think this is the kind of "homework" that Tony is speaking of. It's always easy to post some emotional comment without doing any "homework", but does little to help with the task at hand. Let's stop bashing and start problem solving.

Anonymous said...

"...So, it's easy to pick on the teachers when looking at the 85% increase related to salaries but that's not my intent...."

Dah, it sure is. A suggestion, don't just pick on the teachers but include the administrators and their significant salaries too.

With the current and projected state of the local and regional economy just what seems reasonable to you elected types right now?

A.) more of the same
B.) significant cuts and reductions in the bigger portions of your operating budgets NOW.
C.) We are only politicians and we are not about to do what the people really need done even as the evidence is clearly visible around us.

November was time for change and right now at least some of us voters believe those newly elected need to start making some significant changes in the status quo with the coming budget.

Anonymous said...

The best way to cut the budget is to layoff teachers, including tenured. Let them keep their raises and all the fringe benefits that most people no longer have. To pay for any increases in wage should require staff reductions to pay for them

The town has to take a stand and that's the only way the teachers will realize they are not indispensible.

Anonymous said...

We have 25,000 other people to worry about in this town. We must be able to balance all of this and maintain quality of life for all. Let's all work together on this and keep everyone in mind when deciding on next years budget.

Anonymous said...

4:45 p.m. "...The town has to take a stand and..."

Historically the town has always taken the same stand, the town has always sided with the teachers and the teachers union. Will it be any different this time?

The state economy and state budget is in as big a mess as ever, how will this town now deal with that?

If something doesn't change with school budgets soon those now paying $3,000 per year in property taxes will be paying $5,000 or $6,000 and those now paying $10,000 will be paying $20,000 or $25,000.

Tax payers at all economic levels are close to or at the breaking point. Time to reign in our unionized teachers before it is too late.

Anonymous said...

Has ANYONE read in the MRJ what Wallingford BOE is proposing??? A reorg that will ELIMINATE (55) teachers; NO retirement incentive--just gone!!! THIS is what Cheshire will face in a year or two!!!