BOE takes Consensus on 15-16 Budget to send to Mayor

In Summary:

At the February 11, 2015 Operations Committee Meeting the Board of Education took consensus on the 15-16  budget to submit to the Mayor.  The meeting was led by Jean-Pierre Bolat, Vice Chair of Operations, who was appointed in January to replace Chet Miller.  Last night’s meeting was a review of items which had been discussed at length in several budget meetings since January 14, 2015 when the first edition of a budget for 15-16 was presented.  When asked by Mr. Bolat a percentage increase each Board member was comfortable submitting to the Mayor there were a variety of answers.  Several Board members felt the prioritization of strategic items in addition to the sustained services budget was more important than the actual percentage.  Kathy Castelli said “The legwork is done with this budget, let the community see what the District needs and these are our priorities."  Some Board members spoke to specific items in the strategic budget.  Jay Cei also focused on the prioritization of needs including measures to address the Health Survey taken by High School students last year.

Although Joe Marrone supported submitting a budget which included full day kindergarten and expanding preschool, he was not in favor of submitting a budget with any other strategic prioritized needs and ultimately voted against the budget.  Chris Shortell  stated he wouldn't feel comfortable giving a set percentage because it has been so thoughtful and such a hard process.  Roxane McKay agreed that all items had merit and given the work put into the budget she was comfortable with the sustained services and prioritized strategic plan items being presented as the 15-16 budget request to the Mayor.

Long time Board member, Mike Votto, spoke about being community driven and was proud of the Board’s involvement with the community.  He felt the budget benefited more than 6,000 children and their families, it spoke to who we are as a community.  He reminded members that over the years the Board of Education has continually been reaching out to every possible area of the community to make Wallingford better and desirable for all residents.  He would like to see other town departments think outside the box like the Board of Education. He mentioned successful partnerships resulting in programs like the Innovation Team, HUBCAP, Parent Ambassadors with town Realtors and developing relationships with SCOW, Choate and Family and Youth and Social Services.  

The meeting concluded by taking a consensus on the sustained budget along with a priority list of strategic plan items.  The budget being submitted totaled $98.3M and is an increase of 4.88% over last year.

This is the Link to the list of the  Prioritization of Strategic Plan 2015-2016 included in the 2015-2016 budget request.

Summarized by,
Tammy Raccio
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