William Alvarez, Redding Board of Finance
Kim Yonkers, Redding Board of Finance
Jess Gaspar, Redding Board of Education
Eric Witt, Redding Board of Education
Julia Pemberton, Redding First Selectman
Bernard Josefsberg, Superintendent of Schools
Peggy Sullivan, Schools Director of Finance
Steve Gniadek, Redding Director of Finance
The meeting was called to order at 7:04 pm in the Hearing Room of the Redding Town Hall.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS
The Committee members agreed that Mr. Alvarez and Dr. Gaspar would co-chair the Committee.
DISCUSSION OF ISSUES
A discussion of the Minimum Budget Requirement (MBR) followed. Dr. Josefsberg provided two packets of information on MBR research, copies of testimony on House Bill 5565 (MBR), correspondence from the Council of Small Towns, and correspondence with State Senator Toni Boucher. This information was reviewed and discussed.
Dr. Gaspar reported that he reached out to other school districts to learn if any had a similar situation with Meeting the MBR requirements. He also contacted CABE (Connecticut Association of Boards of Education) and shared Redding’s concerns with Patrice McCarthy, CABE Deputy Director and General Counsel, and Elaine Whitney, VP of Professional Development. CABE recommends submission of a Resolution be submitted for the CABE Delegate Assembly in November for consideration. Ms. Whitney indicated CABE would assist with the drafting of a resolution which is due on August 1, 2014
The group discussed the primary issue that Redding has schools with high performance levels, high education expenses, and declining enrollment. Dr. Josefsberg indicated that the proposal (Resolution) should include a statement that the two boards (Board of Finance and Board of Education) are and will work collaboratively to fund a school that shares the community interest. The cooperation between the two boards is essential.
Other options were discussed:
Capital expenses: These are considered long term funding item, costs over $25,000, and with a long life. The option of including capital expenditures in the operating budget was discussed. Discussion of how these expenses would impact the MBR followed. Mrs. Sullivan stated that new legislature now permits boards of education to establish a Capital Reserve Fund within the budget proposal, similar to what Region 9 Board of Education does. She will check further on the details and rules regarding this option.
Annual MBR Report: Mrs. Sullivan reported the MBR report is due to the State in October of each year and report specifically asks for the Town’s “budgeted appropriation” for the schools.
Other options: Mr. Alvarez asked for a status update on the Board of Education’s committee looking at long term options for accommodating the declining enrollment especially relative to facilities. Dr. Gaspar reported the committee will report back to the Board at their September meeting with their findings or suggestions that require further study.
Conclusion: Dr. Gaspar, Mr. Witt and Dr. Josefsberg will work on a draft resolution for CABE. The draft will be circulated for review. The group will meet again on July 23, 2014 to finalize the resolution, review any new information and consider next steps.
Next meeting: July 23, 2014, 7:30 pm, Redding Town Hall, conference Room.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:20 pm
Mary Maday, Recording Secretary