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School Department Heads Outline Spending Plans at Special Meeting

The second of two meetings was held Thursday night at Ridgeway Elementary School

Administrators during a special meeting said that their budgets for the 2012-13 school year will not change much from this year's spending plan. 

Buildings and grounds was among the departments that presented plans for next year's operations. Like the others, keeping costs down while maintaining standards was a focus, said Dave Galvao, supervisor of Buildings and Grounds. 

"Overall, it's about the same as last year," he said. Galvao said that about $100,000 has been saved because of improvements to utilities throughout the buildings in the district. 

Galvao said that hiring more skilled contractors may mean a higher upfront cost, it also reduces the need for additional repairs. Superintendent David Trethaway agreed. 

"When there's a problem, it's corrected and it doesn't come back," Trethaway said.

Galvao said that his budget was created with the plan of addition maintenance staff, rather than relying on contractors to do certain repairs. 

"That will make a tremendous dent in saving what we spend on services," he said. Two employees are in the budget, as well as additional funding to outfit a van for repair use and the purchase of a used van. The cost budgeted for subcontractor services would cover that staff, Galvao said. 

"And next year we would be able to reduce that cost," said business administrator Craig Lorentzen, since the initial investment of supplies will have been made. 

Galvao also advised the board that more work throughout the district may be needed in the coming years. When the when a facilities repair referendum was passed in 2009, it covered about $10 million of the $30 million of work that a consultant recommended.

"So you know sooner or later the other stuff is going to come up," said board president Donald Webster.

Budgeting in the transportation department, which always faces the threat of rising fuel prices, has remained stable, said supervisor Val Varga.

"Basically, my budget is the same as it was last year and I think we'll be able to survive with that," Varga said.

Varga said that he may be able to save money by working out transportation agreements with surrounding districts such as Lacey and Waretown.

But the department must also consider large purchases. The bus radio systems must be replaced by Jan. 1, 2013, Varga said, which would cost about $135,000. Lorentzen said that, since the district will have to purchase new buses soon, it may be possible to tie the cost of a new radio system into one lease purchase.

All 54-passenger buses will have cameras by the end of this year, Lorentzen said. Smaller buses will be "gradually" outfitted in the next 2 to 3 years, he said.

A that was approved by the board last year is bringing in money for the district, but is also putting miles on the food service van.

"With the additional revenues, we may be able to buy a van with that," Lorentzen said.

Student and Administrative Services director Kevin Burger said that his department runs on "a very small budget for what we do."

Burger said the district saves money by consolidating testing days, such as was done during middle school testing. The mentoring program for new teachers, which costs $550 per instructor, is "extremely important," he said, and will be continued. Burger said that he would like to train additional specialists in dealing with harassment, intimidation and bullying.

Technology coordinator Clifford Conover said that he worked with a $40,000 this year, but next year's budget is a "significant increase" because of the which were deployed throughout the district.

An online portal for parents will open during the fourth quarter of the school year, making it easier for them to track the progress of their children.

"It's a great thing to provide information to parents," Conover said.

Regional Day School principal Ralph Lotierzo spoke about the challenges of keeping students in the school. Recent efforts, including an open house, led to the enrollment of two new students.

The school, which is run by Manchester for the state, is also which would help students who have aged out of eligibility for the school by providing them opportunities to learn about the types of jobs they might be able to do in ways that are appropriate to each student’s level of ability and readiness.

The board of education will next meet for its regular meeting on Feb. 15, 7:30 p.m. in the media center of Ridgeway Elementary School. 

Mark Wendell February 10, 2012 at 10:41 PM
In house maintenance will result in quicker service also as well as saving money on expensive subcontracting. It also helps to have the same people in the district and keeps down on having strangers in the buildings.
rusty wallace February 10, 2012 at 11:47 PM
What!
Donald J Borst February 11, 2012 at 08:38 PM
If you people feel that this bandaid will lower your school taxes, think again. When have school taxes gone down or remained the same? They continue to be defeated , yet continue to rise. I have relations in various positions of the educational system and those are the authorities to speak to,not the fat cats who profit from their own lies.
Mark Wendell February 11, 2012 at 11:07 PM
Donald It looks like there will be no public voting on the budget. It should be under the cap.
rusty wallace February 11, 2012 at 11:44 PM
D
Mark Wendell February 11, 2012 at 11:48 PM
what does D mean?
rusty wallace February 11, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Donald, there is no bandaid being applied, it is just a statement of fact. Beside that when was the last time your cost of living whent down ( gas, electric,heating costs)? I thought so. How do you expect the cost of running a school district to go down?
Mark Wendell February 12, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Rusty you are right, I dont think this is a band-aid. Manchester BOE has made big strides in reducing costs of some of the things you mention. From what I can remember a few things they did were to change the old oil burning furnace at Whiting to a modern gas unit. Solar panels now grace the HS roof. Modern energy saving lighting has been installed in the gyms. A district wide electricity saving plan has been used for at least the last 2 years. A co-op is being used to buy electricity. So while the cost of electric service has gone up solar usage and conservation have brought use down. One of the big things with no control of cost is fuel for the buses. It is very hard to put something into a budget that the price can change suddenly and drastically.
Donald J Borst February 12, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Rusty The last time my cost of living, gas, electric, heating, taxes, etc., went down was when I moved from New York,to South Carolina. The Northeast is noted for having one of the highest living costs. New Jersey is noted for its high taxes and general living costs. There is much greed in the Northeast. On another note, whatever happened to retaining maintenance budgets to pay for all the needed repairs, etc. that they continue to tell us they require? I'll tell you where they went, they became general funds like most money that is put aside for any cause. Take a look at Social Security.The United States has spent itself into the poor house and continues to come back to the middle class to bail them out. All of the Congress are millionaires and one is worth $450 million. I wish I could say that for myself. Where will they get their tax money when they have run the middle class into the poor house? We live under a DICTATORSHIP in this country because we get told what to do, when to do it and how to do it, by the big boys in charge of our lives. When was the last time you were able to control your raises the way they do? I thank God that I'm the age I am because by the time it really hits the fan I'll be in the urn. Creamated that is. Good Luck!
Mark Wendell February 12, 2012 at 10:17 PM
Donald, can I ask you what you mean by " retaining maintenance budgets to pay for needed repairs"?
Mark Wendell February 19, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Donald, there is a cap on the years end carryover if this is what you are talking about. That cap is 3%. You must spend 97% of your budget. This is one of the laws the senior population pushed for and we now all pay for it.
Martin Davis July 31, 2012 at 05:11 AM
Mark I feel bad for you. You are just another person who has had the wool pulled over their eyes.....Solar panels on the roof....those are a joke, they don't even meet 1/10th of a percent of the all electric costs of energy for the high school. I will tell you what they do though.....when they were installed by the electrical company EDC that James Griffin is affiliated with, and the school paid them well over $1,000,000.00 dollars, not to mention also awarded them excessive additional work which they were able to bid low due to the high profit of the referendum work. I find it very sketchy that James Griffin sits on the board of a school and voted on that work which went to his company....and was also privy to information about pricing and bids because he is a board member. if thats not a conflict of interest....i don't know what is. Don't Believe me? Check it out for yourself.
Mark Wendell July 31, 2012 at 10:32 AM
School system does not hire the people that work on the referendums. That happened the first time by the defunct SCC and the second time by whomever replaced it.I don't believe your 1/10th prediction about the solar panels. The school has a computer in the lobby that tells you exactly what they are doing live, check it out. Many schools if not most district's in the area are installing these. You make it into some kind of scam but it's not. Look at the size and scope of Central's system, it has to be one of the largest around. As for Mr Griffin he is just a worker for the company not a manager, owner or other person who would gain by a contract.
Jethro Redman October 11, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Would they be the same contractors that let our middle school develop mold in?
Mark Wendell October 11, 2012 at 08:09 PM
and what contractor was blamed for the mold?

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