The budget. Round One.

I need to get caught up on what’s happening with the budget so I won’t venture any opinions other than this: I know a fight is looming.

But I’m sure those who are paying attention would like a new thread that focuses on the issue, so here it is.

Here are some key documents, which I need to read:

Town manager’s proposed budget

School superintendent’s budget proposal

Town manager’s March 11 budget presentation

Budget in Brief

Capital Improvement Budget

I do have to give credit to our town officials for putting all this information online so that we can easily dig through it.

Property tax estimator

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16 Comments

Filed under budget, Schools, town council

16 responses to “The budget. Round One.

  1. turtle

    Whoo hoo! He’s back!

  2. Tish

    John Hardy – I mean WHdad – You misinformed the public into thinking that the West Hartford Taxpayer’s FAT FACTs attacked early learning. The FAT FACTs went after the BOE for providing early learning to out of district children along with our own children. Who’s misinforming the public? Where were your fiscal concerns that you told people you were worried about in the budget. You talk out of two sides of your mouth.

  3. John Hardy

    Well thanks for the compliment Tish, but I could only aspire to be whdad. (Very pleased to see you back BTW, dad….)

    So, I in my hands I hold a document listing “Fact Fats.” One of the bulleted items contained therein is the Early Learning Center, with a passage that:
    (1) mischaracterizes services provided by the ELC, and
    (2) misleads as to the purpose of ELC tuition,
    and I’m the one misinforming the public, eh?

    Let’s start with some simple – and actual – “facts:” the ELC is listed in the Special Instruction section of the budget book. The introduction to that section reads as follows: “Special Instruction consists of those programs and services required to fulfill Federal and State mandates that every child who has a physical, mental, emotional or learning disability shall receive the appropriate program he/she needs to progress educationally.”

    So, one would conclude that an objective, careful reader would conclude that – duh – this section is about “special education.” If the WHTA would have taken a deep breath and talked to anyone with an interest in Special Ed (I represent myself that way all the time), or contacted the very active SEPTA here in Town (http://www.whsepta.org/) which frequently makes its presence known at Board Meetings, in the press and through School District publications (some of you claim to have kids in the schools), or – for cripes sake – even spent a few minutes doing a teensy-tiny iota of research on the WHPS website (http://www.whps.org/school/whiting/ELC/home%20page.htm), it is ever so simple to ascertain what the Early Learning Center is all about .

    And where exactly – PRECISELY – is it written that ELC provides services to out of district children? It does state on budget book page E15 that itinerant services are provided to WH residents in private pre-schools – regardless of where they are. That’s the law (and every school district is responsible for doing this, by the way). And that is a very good thing – we can provide mandated services to a good many kids with lesser disabilities, and can reserve the more comprehensive (and thus costlier) ELC setting for kids with more significant issues.

    But of course, this is all truth and not your favored “truthiness.” So I fear that it is of no interest to you.

    But I am still glowing that you referred to me as whdad.

  4. WH Alum

    After last year’s fiasco in the Trade Winds and the misrepresentation of “facts” by the WHTA, I don’t think they have much credibility left with anyone who has been paying attention.

    Welcome back, WHDAD!

    It could’ve been you, John – didn’t seem like too much of a stretch.

  5. Not Surprised

    Well, I am not surprised that the Tax Payers Association have decided to pick on 3 and 4 year olds requiring special education services, very classy. People without children in the WHPS are commenting on the appropriate services and programs – seems a little inappropriate, although I am sure the whole social justice thing, make sure everyone has an appropriate education is not on the radar screen for the Association.
    Can’t wait to see who they pick on next, I’m waiting for the onslaught at Stop and Shop where they prey on senior citizens, telling them they will have to eat cat food because the children are costing the town too much money. Especially those 4 year olds needing speech and language, shame on them!

  6. Mark

    I don’t see where they are picking on 3 and 4 year old special ed kids. They merely stated that we give other town consulting services and resources and don’t get reimbursed for that. That is clearly taken from the WHPS budget book. Why are you misrepresenting their stance on that?

  7. Not Surprised

    Please clarify what other towns are getting financial or special edu support from WH staff without reimbursement? Children in schools within WH get services from WH staff regardless public/private if they need sped – where is the other towns reference? It is federally mandated service –

  8. Not Surprised

    The sped law changed so that now children that go to school within WH (private, religious, etc) from other towns are now WH responsibility for evaluating for Sped services – before if a student from Bloomfield(for example) came to Renbrook (for example) and needed an evaluation Bloomfield would come in and do it, now it is the school district where the private school resides responsibility – change in federal Sped law, take it up with them

  9. TwoCents

    “People without children in the WHPS are commenting on the appropriate services and programs ”

    Its my right as a taxpayer to comment on the process and have a voice heard.

  10. Curt

    as someone who has had both of his kids in the ELC as role models I’m to tell you what an absolutely great program it is. While that doesn’t speak to any financial consideration or line item in the budget I will say this about our school system in general.

    Our schools continue to be attractive and as long as young families are willing to move into our town then the town and it’s real estate values will continue to thrive. Our schools do an excellent job of cost containment imo in that we are in the middle (rank around 80) on per-pupil cost funding to the schools and still crank out kids with above average test scores. The farther we move from the kid the better job we do with cost as administratively we rank down around 120 out of 160 or so in per-pupil cost.

  11. turtle

    After weeks of shameless demagoguery by the Taxpayers Association over Open Choice, Theresa McGrath scraped the bottom of the barrel at the BoE public hearing this past Tuesday when she threatened to consult an attorney over “slander” against the Taxpayers Association, and further, when she accused (through an anonymous proxy, of course) unnamed persons of “Hitlerism” for “bullying” unnamed supporters of the budget. Of course McGrath’s hissy fit and Clare Kindall’s dignified response were not reported in the Courant.

    What is it with the cheap and easy invocation of Nazism in response to disputes over a municipal budget? Are the citizens of West Hartford going to stand by while McGrath attempts to intimidate people from speaking up at a public hearing? It seems McGrath did not interpret her electoral defeat in the race for town clerk as a definitive rejection of her tactics as president of the WHTA. She’s back like a bad check.

  12. WH Alum

    It’s great to see so many more people paying attention this year and speaking up in support of the budget. It shows that the WHTA is not the voice of the majority.

    It will be interesting to see if the WHTA really stands back and does not force a referendum, as they indicated at the Town Council public hearing tonight. Sounds like a bluff… or that they have people at the ready to do it for them.

  13. Kevin Walsh

    What would WHTA stand to gain from a bluff NOT to force a referendum?

  14. WH Alum

    No clue – but I’m finding it hard to believe that they will sit back and take an increase over 6% without a fight. (Over 3% even…)

    Their point is well taken – if they believe there are games being played and they want the council to stand up and make the tough calls without making WHTA be the “bad guys.” But with the numbers of people who spoke for and against last night, the majority was on the supporting side. 27-15 according to the Courant this morning. I did not keep my own tally. If the TC email and letters follows that trend, why would they look for cuts and prolong the process? Especially if the biggest opposing group has promised not to force a referendum?

  15. Osemasterofdoom

    Thanks for posting the info, WHDad, and welcome back to the debate.

    From the looks of it, I suppose I will be supporting this budget, albeit reluctantly. The main culprit in the increases continue to be the salary jumps reached via binding arbitration. Until our illustrious representatives in Hartford do away with this process, we’ll be back here again next year, and the year after that…

    Did anyone else notice the huge increase in expected revenue from parking tickets? Is this where the Nazis come in? If so, please help me make them feel welcome with a rousing rendition of “Deutchland, Deutchland Uber Alles”

  16. Curt

    Parking tickets? funny you should say that since there does seem to be a concerted effort to enforce no-right-on-reds, rolling stops and such. It is clear to me there is a push for some increased revenue here. I’ll bet if you ask around you’ll find you know someone who recently got a $124 ticket!

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