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Board of Education Adopts $138.77 Million Budget

Budget approved as presented by the superintendent, with one minor amendment to the projection for health care claims.

The 2012-2013 budget proposed to the West Hartford Board of Education by Superintedent Karen List was approved Tuesday night, with one revision due to a change in health care cost reserves.

The Board voted on a revised budget of $138,769,729, an increase of 4.47 percent ($5.943 million) over last year's budget. The was $138,894,729, a 4.57 percent ($6.068 million) increase.

The 2012-2013 budget was adopted by a vote of 5-2, with Republicans Lib Brassil Spinella and Ellen Brassil casting the dissenting votes. Democrat Elin Katz, who could not attend Tuesday night's meeting, participated and registered her vote by conference call. Democrats Bruce Putterman, Terry Schmitt, Naogan Ma, and Mark Overmyer-Velazqez also voted in favor of the budget.

Director of Finance and Planning Chip Ward said that the education budget was able to be reduced by $125,000 once two more months of health care claims were included in the experience used as a basis for next year's claim funding. When the budget documents were originally prepared, that line item was based on six months of health care claims, but January and February numbers subsequently became available.

Salaries ($2.56 million increase), tuition ($1.3 million increase), and medical costs represent the major components of the 2012-2013 budget increase.

Prior to the vote, Spinella said, "We all come here with huge dedication to the school system, year in and year out." However, she said she had listened to the speakers at Monday night's Town Council public hearing who expressed the hard time they would have with projected tax increases, and did not support the budget "as a raising of awareness."

Brassil said prior to casting her dissenting vote, "My heart says yes, but my head says no. These very steep increases are becoming increasingly difficult for people. I don’t know how long we can sustain along this path. I just don’t believe that the present model can over time continue."

Ma expressed her support for the budget, and for the work of West Hartford public schools and Town leaders. "It’s a clean town, it’s a safe town, it’s a beautiful place to live. This is a good town to live in and I think we need to sacrifice certain parts of our personal life and do what’s needed."

In his support for the budget, Chairman Putterman said, "The budget is a roll forward budget. We are simply trying to do next year what we’re doing this year. Anything less than that would be some kind of signal that we’re losing our commitment to education. It's shaving a couple of basis points off the budget versus signaling that we’re on some kind of a downward trajectory."

The education budget is a line item on the overall town budget. The on April 24.

d harrington April 11, 2012 at 12:11 PM
I would make a comment, however it would be a waste of my time seeing my last comment about the public hearing was censored for saying, why isn't everyone of "like minded"and identify those in the meeting who are not and find out why, also if the town is always going to increase the budget then there's no need to have a council in place. These comments are considered out of line or offensive or vulgar or harmful in some way. Those comments were returned to me in an email saying The Patch would not post them. This too probably will not be posted for the same reason. Totally insulting!
Ronni Newton April 11, 2012 at 02:50 PM
As stated yesterday, you have not been censored. I sent you an email explaining what happened, and I believe I have now restored your comment to yesterday's budget story.
d harrington April 11, 2012 at 04:24 PM
I did not receive an email to that extent. I reposted the original post and that too was returned along with the Patches terms and policies. I then posted asking why the censorship, that one didn't post as far as I can see. I use a mobile device when writing, so I waited til I was near a computer and did the same. This rant is simply an explanation to the course of events! I can no longer view comments like before on the mobile version due to your changes. Ill look for the email you sent. In the past my comments have always been to the point, it surely isn't the popular view but open and honest and never profane or out of line and certainly never harmful or threating!!!!!! Your email censoring my comments was addressed directly to me and contained my original post stating it did not comply with the Patches terms and conditions, also it stated that the Patch personnel reviewed the comment! I didn't receive a private explanation, but I see the public one! Thank you
Carol Quish April 17, 2012 at 08:58 PM
1:34 pm on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 It really is a joke that the majority of the Board of Ed and our Town council are so out of touch. Ellen Brassil seems to get it, "These very steep increases are becoming increasingly difficult for people. I don’t know how long we can sustain along this path. I just don’t believe that the present model can over time continue." All of the residents, young and old, that I talk to in town are disgusted that their taxes keep going up. They have given up fighting, knowing that the majority of the Council and the Board don't care and have not cared for a number of years. Seems that our Board and Town Council have not felt personally the downturn in the economy. We are becoming a town where people come in just to educate their kids and then leave when they graduate high school. Those of us who grew up here, raised our children here, and want to stay here in our retirement years, are being forced out.

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