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Letter: Mistake shouldn’t deter budget support

To the editor:

This letter is intended to correct misinformation shared by Gail Cromwell in a recent Ledger Transcript article. In the article, she suggests that voting the proposed FY’14 school budget down will solve the miscalculated building aid revenue issue. We want to make it clear that there is no connection between a miscalculation on the revenue side of the financial house as a reason to vote down the proposed operational budget.

Voting down the budget would require that we eliminate an additional $616,000 worth of staffing and program costs.

The error is ours and is in no way a negative or critical reflection of the Department of Education. From the beginning, the district accepted full responsibility for the building aid miscalculation and began working on a plan to use available resources to ensure that the loss of building aid revenue would not impact the proposed budget for 13-14.

Our plan to address this issue uses multiple funding sources and does not impact students or the 2013-2014 educational programs. We have identified budget lines that carry differences between estimates and actual expenditures. These account differences are shared on monthly calculation sheets at our posted Board meetings.

There are also savings to be found in health benefit payments that came in under the Guaranteed Maximum Rate that the district uses for budget purposes. Another direct source of revenue can be found in the difference between payments from state grant sources, such as Catastrophic Aid amounts, that were larger than what the state reported last fall as receipt estimates.

Finally, if additional funding is required to meet our objective, we will be able to use some portion of our Special Education and Capital Reserve Trust funds. These funds were specifically created to be used as sources of revenue for either Special Education or Capital expenses and have been used in the past.

Butch Estey,

ConVal School Board Chairperson

Richard Bergeron

Superintendent

Marian Alese

Business Administrator

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