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About the School District budget

To the editor:

The voters delivered a strong message to ConVal’s administration and School Board at the polls last Tuesday. Since then, both groups have insinuated that educational programs will have to be cut to meet the default budget. As the Selectmen’s Advisory Committee liaison to the Conval Budget and Property Committee, I have promoted several steps which would reduce expenses many times the amount now needed, without coming near any educational programs.

They include: 1. Bid out the health insurance contract. We’ve made progress now it’s time to complete this work and make a change July 1. 2. Outsource the cafeteria program. This has been proven to save $200,000 to $300,000 annually. 3. Reconcile the district’s new capital plan to all the additional programs added to the budget without School Board review. 4. Reconcile the district’s new IT plan to the hundreds of additional computing devices added to the budget for staff. 5. Reconsider whether all the new non-core programs (summer camp, etc.) are really central to ConVal’s educational mission. 6. Scour the budget the way the ConVal towns do to identify simple operational opportunities. The budget is 250 pages long. A review comparing what has historically been spent to what is being proposed shows significant opportunity for consolidation and overall reductions.

Going forward, the Budget and Property Committee and School Board need to take a much stronger role in the preparation and review of the budget. This year, the chairmen of the Budget and Property Committee and School Board refused to let the Budget and Property Committee get involved in the budget. And the School Board didn’t take the time to get into the detail.

In order to gain back voter confidence, ConVal needs a strong hands-on budget committee made up of School Board members, CFOs in our community and a selectman or two.

John Kieley

Temple Select Board

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