Thursday, July 03, 2008

Middletown School Budget

I received the following comment from Councilor Silveira. He is explaining his attempt to add revenue to the school budget. This is the 120k which may or may not materialize from the State with monies from extended gambling hours at the two casinos. The Newport Daily News link is not available without $. It barely mentioned his attempts or offered any explanation.

A few other communities also decided to accept the State's promise of "iffy" funding for schools in their budgets. I thought that the Councilman's plan was clever and right-on-the-money. I applaud him. This whole can of worms (school funding & the reserve funds we hold) will likely replay next year, the year after, blah, blah. The State needs to come up with more $ and give in yearly without all the drama scenes. They come up smelling like a rose for the election season while locals take the heat. And then there's the federal element...

I felt the need to comment on the recent Daily News story regarding the approval of the Middletown School budget. My attempt to budget the 120k as a revenue would have done few things-

1. Funded the school an additional 30k- potentially saving the sports programs.

2. Protected these potential, additional monies and allocate them as committed. As Superintendent Kraeger says herself the money will just be spent- therefore increasing their spending without a structured spending plan. As stated by Paul Rodrigues, it would be like winning the lottery- but no one will ever know what happens to the extra income. These potential extra funds from the State should be used to reduce the tax burden to the residents!

3. Lowered the proposed year's tax increase from 3.36 to 3.09 and, again, potentially saved vital programs.

If at the end of the year we didn't receive the full 120k from the State [monies realized from casino gambling], I proposed that we use a very small amount from the fund balance (undesignated). Remember that we have multiple different reserve funds with significant $ in them.

Yet again this Council chooses to spend reserve funds on anything that the majority see fit; i.e. manhole rehabilitation (400k) and the Potter League (150k). Yet they continue to try to paint me as being irresponsible. They continue to arbitrarily spend based on their own political agenda(s)- very sad.
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