Incorrect and Misrepresented Info – Erica Gelven

In this season of fiscal decision-making and civic priority-setting, I feel a responsibility to strongly refute incorrect and misrepresented information about the Board of Education (BOE) operating budget.

Here are some figures: Based on requests to the superintendent, the original operating budget increase was 6.03 percent, cut to 4.35 percent by BOE Budget/Finance Subcommittee, then 3.48 percent after additional superintendent cuts, and then 2.98 percent after additional BOE cuts. The final operating increase after a Board of Finance cut is 2.04 percent.

The 2018-’19 budget request was not rubber stamped.

Of the 2.98 percent increase, 53.71 percent is from contractual agreements, representing negotiations below the state average, increased employee share of healthcare premiums, and a shift to a high-deductible healthcare plan.

Another 21.65 percent of the increase is transportation cost increases. The BOE’s five-year bid contract is ending; based on research of vendors and neighboring contracts, increases are a reality.

The transportation cost increase from an unfunded state mandate is $30,000.

The number of FTE (full-time equivalent) certified positions eliminated since 2016 is 11.2; 4.93 non-certified positions were eliminated during the same period.

Clinton’s per pupil expenditure is $17,584. Of the 11 nearby school districts, only one is lower (by $23). The highest is $22,783.

The 2016-’17 school year surplus was $2,804, after a spending freeze was implemented. The number of first languages of Clinton Public School students is 18.

Quality education is neither easy nor inexpensive. We have challenges in Clinton, which we’re meeting with solemnity and transparency. Our diverse population means we have differing needs to meet, differing goals to support within one school system. We’re truly empowering Clinton’s learners to embrace and influence the future with courage and compassion.

I encourage your readers to reach out to any BOE member with questions or concerns.

Erica Gelven
Clinton

Erica Gelven serves on the Board of Education.

Published Mar 28, 2018 – https://www.zip06.com/letters/20180328/incorrect-and-misrepresented-info

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