To be Lauded, not Criticized – Phil Sengle

The March 15 Harbor News contained my letter “Does Not Benefit Students.” I wrote about pay raises, the Pierson School, budget surpluses, and year-end binge spending in education. I left an incorrect impression that is corrected here. Without saying so, the clear impression I left was that big budget surpluses and year-end binge spending was a continuing phenomenon; they are not. Those poor practices were burned into taxpayer memory by the previous superintendent of school Jack Cross.

The current superintendent, Maryann O’Donnell, came into her position in May 2016. Before then, Maryann had assistant superintendent duties. In that short time, the fiscal 2016-’17 budget came in with a tiny surplus of $2,804 with no reported year-end spending spree. This is to be lauded, not criticized as I implied. Also Ms. O’Donnell indicates to me that the current budget (2017-’18) should come in close to target. Maryann knows that she and the Board of Education (BOE) still suffer from the questionable practices of the past. They must continue working hard to change those perceptions.

Regardless, don’t lose sight of the fact that Clinton has a tremendous fiscal problem that won’t be easily or soon fixed. The problem is both revenue and spending. Regarding costs, the BOE began a public discussion about Pierson on March 26.

Where are we now? The Board of Selectmen passed the education budget in full to the Board of Finance (BOF) on a split vote. The BOF made final budget cuts on March 12, cutting $300,000 from education’s operating budget. It approved education’s capital budget with a cut of $76,000. All town budgets now go to public hearing at 7 p.m. on April 11 at the Town Hall. I encourage your readers to come and let their voices be heard!

Selectman Phil Sengle (R)

Published Mar 28, 2018 –

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