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Newtown Officials Urge Voters to Approve 2012 Budget

They said another round of cuts could erode town services and the quality of the school system.

Members of the Legislative Council and Board of Finance joined the Board of Education and First Selectman Patricia Llodra Monday to urge voters to approve the town budget in a referendum next Tuesday.

"I strongly encourage people to vote yes on the budget," said Llodra at an informational forum on the budget prior to Monday’s Board of Selectman meeting.

Later, in an interview, she said it was the first time she knew of that members of all the boards responsible for the town budget met at a single meeting and voiced a unified message to the voters.

Llodra also warned that another round of cuts would bite into town services. "I am concerned that additional cuts would erode services and education," she said.

The about the budget to Llodra and members of the Board of Education, Board of Finance and Legislative Council. The questions were funneled through Newtown Bee Editor Curtiss Clark, who served as moderator.

The session lasted one hour before the regular Board of Selectmen meeting. Video of the forum will be available on the town web site and on local news media web sites.

The first question was the one asked most often during this budget season: why hasn’t the Board of Education budget gone down while pupil enrollment has gone down?

Board of Education Chairman Debbie Leidlein explained most of the enrollment drop has been in the elementary schools, but in order to cut staff there has to be a decline of 20 or more students in a single grade and school.

She said the Board of Education is also trying to make improvements at Newtown High School that were recommended by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges in order to keep the high school’s NEASC accreditation.

Leidlein doesn’t know if all-day kindergarten can be implemented if voters approve the second budget referendum on May 15, but if they don’t she said the Newtown public schools probably would face severe program cuts.

The while leaving the town side of the budget intact for its second round budget proposal going to the voters next week, on Tuesday, May 15.

Clark asked the Council members how they came to that round number and whether they would cut more from the school budget if voters turn down the budget again.

Council Chairman Jeffrey Capeci, R-3, said he thought the 600-vote margin in the first referendum balloting on April 24 showed strong voter dissatisfaction that warranted a substantial cut from the Board of Education.

If the second referendum also fails, Capeci said he expects the next round of cuts would affect both the town departments and the public schools.

Another question asked if the $400,000 addition to the town’s fund balance, a reserve account also known as the "rainy day fund," might be cut instead of the school budget. Board of Finance Chairman John Kortze strongly recommended against it.

He said bond rating agencies want to see the town build up the fund balance account. Doing so might improve the town’s credit rating, making it cheaper to borrow money, but not doing it might have the opposite effect.

"This is one item in the budget that has a direct impact on each and every taxpayer," Kortze said.

Mr D. May 15, 2012 at 04:33 AM
Tired of the "spend more on school" to get property values up argument. The number of households with children has dropped below 50% nationwide. Which means the majority care more about things like low property taxes than school spending.
sebastian dangerfield May 15, 2012 at 05:43 AM
sully you want to really have some great reading check this out http://www.ct.gov/opm/lib/opm/finance/hhs_commission/cost_comparisonworkgroup/peters_-_state_and_private_employee_compensation.pdf Average CT private sector employee total compensation ( salary + benefits) = 74,000 Average Public sector employee total compensation = 105,500 You are checking out unemployment rates in florida vs ct The unemployment rate dropped last month to 7.7. You are correct. But the jobless rate doesnt indicated strength in the economy, as even though the jobless rate decreased, there was a net job loss of 2700 jobs. If you are losing jobs , yet unemployment decreasing, it simply means that people are not looking for jobs. One positive sign--in the last year private sector jobs have added 37k, while there has been a decline in government jobs of 2,000. So the job growth is not direct govt jobs. But slightly closer look, says the growth was in transportation and education. So-when malloy hires private companies to work on the road, it is paid for by public money, but the companies are private.....therefore , a mixed bag. But check out CT compensation levels...the AVERAGE GOVT worker in CT makes 105,500. This is why we are going to have a problem. Not because the 'wealthy' dont pay their fair share. Its because we overpay our govt workers by 30%. That is the definition of unfair... If its "fair" that the Dems want to achieve.
Alex Tytler May 15, 2012 at 07:46 PM
2020 on the vote count at 3:00 pm.
Gina Wessen August 26, 2012 at 07:43 PM
Would like to get your input about the tone of the "Accountability In Newtown" FB Group, and whether you think it helps or hurts the town. Please chime in at the new "Accountability in Newtown CT (Open and Uncensored)" FB Group here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/359442710803141/
Jodie September 01, 2012 at 04:31 AM
Please respond to the real Gina (Donna Boyce) at the link below: The corresponding "referring URL to Gina's Profile Picture is: https://www.facebook.com/po.murray/friends?ft_ref=mini Donna Boyce: http://www.donnaboyce.com/Why_Call_Donna/page_566782.html

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