Not the Result of Poor Planning

Our Clinton school superintendent and Board of Education save us money. We have entrusted them to manage and oversee the spending of our education dollars to ensure the children in our community are best served. They have been prudent and responsible. They have come in under budget year after year, meeting our responsibilities to our children and community while saving the town money. Managing a budget of this size, and coming in under budget, is the sign of an expert CEO of a major corporation, worthy of commendation, not condemnation.

The surpluses realized (and so often criticized) are largely due to unanticipated savings in salaries, utilities, and medical expenses-elements of household budgets that we may be trying to trim and control, but that are challenging to foresee. Even energy speculators do not predict the cost of energy a year in advance!

Consider the “salary” component of a budget surplus. There are eight to nine months between the time the education budget is developed and the last day a teacher can choose to retire. Salary surpluses occur, in part, because teachers choose to retire during that time period and either are not replaced or are replaced at a lower pay rate. The budget must be based upon the number of personnel required by today’s payroll; to do otherwise would be derelict of duty.

To be clear, surpluses are not the result of poor planning or financial mismanagement-they are the result of a dynamic, complex operation that cannot and should not function in a bubble.

Erica Gelven

Published March 11, 2015 – Zip06

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