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Board Member Questions

1. Our total need is $155M: does this reflect what we need in our appropriation from the
City or would we subtract ECS, the other revenue sources, our carryover and our net
balance in the Xerox account?

#1 - The $155M is what we need from the City. The Excess Cost/State Agency Placement dollars
have been included, all revenues have been considered that offset the budget, $100,000 carryover has
also been included. The Xerox funds have been put into our 10/11 budget and any surplus from
10/11 will carryover to 11/12.
2. Are the amounts available from the carryover, Xerox account and federal job funds
included in the $155M or are these funds available for the BOE to fund some of the
areas subject to potential cuts?

#2 - Staff has been allocated to the Education Job Funds Grant for 11/12. At this time, there are
no additional funds available to offset any potential cuts. We hope we will not have to use all the
Xerox settlement to balance the 2010-11 operating budget which was significantly under budget.
3. In the list of cuts (pp. 8-9), we have $344K for elementary teacher reductions listed
twice-- as teacher reductions and reduction in reserves. Has this cut been double
counted?

#3 - Page 9 (Elementary Schools) is an addition of 4 elementary teachers that have been included at
the school level for known enrollment needs. Page 9 (District) is a reduction of 4 reserve teachers
that is included each budget season for unanticipated enrollment. It has not been double counted.
Page 8 and 9 are a summary staff changes.
4. The list of cuts (pp. 8-9) indicates a reduction of one school-to-career staff member
at each high school. However, the Object Code for BMHS and NHS indicates that only ½
of a school-to-career counselor is being cut at each school. Please advise which is
correct.

#4 - There are two positions in School to Career. One is a teaching position the other is a guidance
position. This is indicated as to a 0.5 teaching position at each location and 0.5 guidance position at
each location.
5. With respect to the high school athletic teams, what is the breakdown of the
teams/programs that are being eliminated? I am particularly concerned about any
diminution of our swim team which attracts good students and has had success securing
scholarship aid. If we must evaluate sports teams, we should evaluated each team on
its merits and evaluate cost with number of students involved.

#5 - Co-op teams - boys and girls swim team and ice hockey are being proposed to be eliminated:

Boys swim $17,500 18 students


Girls swim $17,500 30 students
Ice hockey $38,000 20 students

6. With respect to the high school athletic teams, has any evaluation been undertaken to
consider the impact of a limited “pay-to-play” system (and, in particular, if such a
system is implemented and students on free and reduced lunch were to be exempted,
would revenue be sufficient to sustain all existing programs)?

#6 - No evaluation has taken place on pay-to-play, however, with recent information we will evaluate
this option.
7. Within the Superintendent’s budget on page 68, under object code 331, there is an
appropriation for legal fees of $205,000. However, given the involvement of
corporation counsel, the lower rates which were negotiated and the fact that certain
of the contracts to be negotiated should not need counsel for effective protection of
taxpayers’ interests, that appropriation could, in my opinion, be safely reduced.

#7 - This account has been underfunded for years. The appropriation for legal fees does take into
account the use of Corporation Counsel for services within their realm.
8. We show budgeted raises for the H R Director and Asst. Supt. in each particular line
item, yet we also show a reserve of $25K for potential raises for these same positions
(in Object Code 150 of the Finance Department’s budget on page 92). We should not show
any increase for positions for which the contract expires as of July 1.

#8 - All CAST will take a 0% increase for 2011/12 and the budget will be reflected accordingly.
Object 150 can be reduced to reflect this adjustment less the dollars needed for the COO contracted
salary for 10/11 and who will also take no increase for 2011/12.
9. Within administrative operations, the COO salary is listed incorrectly as $163,123.
This amount should be changed. Also, because this is a newly-contracted position and
no raise is shown for 2011-2012, there should be no “unsettled contract” issue shown
in the Finance Department for this post.

#9 - Contract was signed after the budget document was printed and the adjusted salary will be
reflected in the Board approved budget.
10. In Department 53 (for Human Resources), there is a raise provided for the director.
Yet, there is no contract yet signed for 2011-2012 (the current contract is a single-
year that expires at the end of the current fiscal year). Therefore, the salary for
this post should be in-line with market forces (an annual rate of $130,00 would appear
appropriate, particularly given what the much-larger City of Bridgeport pays is
interim chief operating officer).

#10 – The base salary of the Human Resources Officer for 2010-11 is $145,266. The amount that
shows in the budget book represents the total minus seven unpaid furlough days that were agreed to
for the year with the understanding that the full amount would be the basis for negotiation in 2011-
12. Other human resources departments have different staff configurations and different
responsibilities. In Norwalk the Human Resources Officer serves as the district facilitator for
TEAM, the CEU coordinator, chief recruiter and, most recently, the benefits manager.
11. In the H R budget (on page 72), we list overtime (object code 130). This should be
eliminated. We should also eliminate advertising (object code 540) as there are
multiple free ways to advertise openings. Furthermore, given the high unemployment
rates, can we have explained why there is a need for advertising and recruitment
budgets?

#11 – The advertising budget has been drastically reduced in recent years due to the shift from print
advertising to website advertising. In 2005-06 the advertising allocation was $54,000. It is now
$10,000. There are some circumstances when targeted advertising is needed to attract unique and
hard to fill positions (ex. speech pathologists, nurses) and to maintain our minority recruitment
initiative. The state no longer support CT REAP and Norwalk now pays $600 per year as part of a
regional cooperative to maintain this critical website link.
12. The HR Director is paid a monthly stipend for travel for which there is no accounting
required. Therefore, there should not be an additional sum allocated for travel of
$900 (which would equate to an additional 1800 miles per year).

#13 – The 10 month travel stipend is in line with other administrators who are encouraged to
maintain visibility in the schools. The HR Director has regular meetings at labor board activities, in
Hartford and Wethersfield.

13. There is $100,000 budgeted for unemployment compensation (object code 250), yet we are
eliminating a large number of positions. By what standard was this cost calculated.

# 13 - This indeed may be under funded due to the possibility of reductions in force and the extended
benefits for unemployment. The budgeted amount is based on past history.

14. Within the HR Budget, can we receive clarification as to why there is a need for
additional training for the staff (object code 301), what justifies the significant
increase in object code 330 (for professional technical services) and what are the
actual costs of training TEAM program mentors (who, I understand, volunteer).

#14 – The 330 account covers contract commitments to NFEP and ESG for tuition reimbursement
and professional development. In addition mandatory training such as sexual harassment for
administrators and first aid for administrators and secretaries come from this account. Schiege
testing for custodial candidates comes from this account. The TEAM program (formerly BEST) is no
longer supported by the state. We have covered local training through Title 11a carryover money
this year, but will not have the luxury next year. Mentors do volunteer (although he state is offering
a $500 stipend this year) however.
15. Can you provide clarification as to all consultants and advisors who are paid for
services with respect to object code 330 (of the HR budget) and with respect to any
other department’s mentoring, advising, counseling and training of professional staff.

#15 - The following were paid from the 330 account: Cooperative Education Services, General ASP
(On line Application System), Schiege Associates, Inc, Safety Priority, Occupational Health Services,
Glenn Investigations, Anti Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, and individual workshop presenters.
NFEP and ESG members who pursue approved coursework are reimbursed from this account.

16. Within the Instruction Budget (page 77), there is a considerable increase over 2010-
2011 for object codes 645 and 690 (textbooks and “other supplies and materials”).
What is the basis for these significant increases?

#16. - Code 645 – textbooks – increases covers new chemistry books and AP course books for
English plus any new classes. This account is for K-12. This year’s budget was insufficient.

17. In the Instruction Budget, on page 77, under object code 733, what is the “Sigma”
software? What explains the increase in this object code?

#17 - Sigma accounts for a significant portion of this line increase (44k). This software will expand
the analysis capabilities of the Online Student Data Portal that is currently in use as a tool to
improve instruction based on student achievement measures. The software would begin to
bridge the gap between the state proposed longitudinal student data system and the current
Online Student Data Portal being used in Norwalk. Sigma would provide instant access and
analysis to student data including academic achievement (CMT, CAPT, DRA, DRP, report
card grades, etc.) as well as discipline, attendance, etc. The benefit of the system is that it
analyses and reports at the teacher, building, and central office level, providing a real-time data tool
to provide information and not just data.
18. Within the Instruction budget, there must be reconciliation between the amount set
forth in the Asst. Supt’s contract, and the amount set forth in the budget (page 76,
object code 112).

#18 - Salaries for 10-11 reflect furlough days subtracted from the base salary which is equivalent to
the salary increase for 10-11.

19. The Adult Education budget does not appear to include any offset for revenues. Also,
there is no note as to whether the salaries for the 45 instructors are for those
valuable courses which must be provided (for adult remediation, citizenship and GED
attainment) or for enrichment courses. Also, there is a note as to the amount of
state reimbursement for adult education, but not to which line items it is applied
(page 78).

#19 - The Adult Ed budget pertains to only the High School Diploma program, GED, and ESL
programs, all required by the CSDE. The 45 teachers pertain to the required courses only. The
Enrichment program is self-sufficient and operates at no cost to the district.

State reimbursement is based on the total amount of local contributions to the required program.

20. Within the Pupil Personnel Services budget, has there been any attempt made to
negotiate the tuitions charged by out-of-district placements?

#20 – Schools set their rates and the rates are approved by the state department of special education.
They are not negotiable.

21. In object code 331 (“Legal Fees” on page 87), with the lower rates that have been
negotiated, and the implementation of better controls by the Director, it would appear
that the $140,000 suggested appropriation could be reduced.

#21 – This figure is the department’s estimated budget for these services and was requested prior to
negotiations for the new attorney contract. As is always the case, this figure may be more or less.
22. The interim budget coordinator is currently paid approximately $83,000. However, the
appropriation for 2011-2012 is $104,873 (object code 126 on page 92). If the position
is to be filled, a lower salary could be established.

#22 - By the ESG contract, the budget coordinator position in 10/11 salary should be $102,315. The
salary for 11/12 by contract is $104,873. As in interim positions, a person is paid on a per diem basis.
23. The reserve within administrative operations for “unsettled contracts” of $24,354
should be reduced to $0 as there are no “unsettled contracts”.

#23 - This will be reduced in the BOE approved budget less the adjustment for the COO contracted
salary.
24. There have been questions raised by retirees who were continuing to receive benefits
that they had rejected that we do not adequately purge our roles. What efforts have
been undertaken to be certain that all retirees who are receiving insurance benefits
are alive and want them?

#24 - The finance department, in conjunction with the Human Resources, department are presently
working together with insurance companies to review and revise all membership eligibility.
25. What is the cost of maintaining the Roton planetarium? Is there any consideration to
using the planetarium as a revenue source?

#25 - The cost for operating the planetarium is one teacher’s salary and benefits ($91,000). Supplies
and bus transportation are about $10,000. When outside groups use this they are charged $2.50
per student. This has brought revenue of $500.

26. What is the cost of all library clerks in the middle schools and elementary schools?

#26 4.0 Middle School Library Clerks work 37.5 hours per week - $263,838 includes salary
and benefits.
12.0 Elementary School Library Clerks work 32.5 hours per week - $695,702 includes salary
and benefits.
27. With the Facilities Budget, what are the specific costs being paid for storage
containers at all schools (object code 440)? What efforts have been undertaken to
purge these containers and either sell them or, if they are leased, to return them?

#27 - We rent a total of 9 containers @ $70 & $75 each p/mo. Total yearly cost for all 9 is $7,680. We
will attempt to return the two PRMS units by 12/2011. We have been trying to get the NHS & BMHS
bands to pay for their units (2 each) for the past few years.
28. In Facilities, under object code 421, the trash disposal budget does not show a
significant reduction from last year, when we were assured by Interim Supt. Nast that
recycling efforts were being aggressively undertaken. What efforts are we currently
undertaking to promote recycling?

#28 - All 19 schools are aggressively participating in recycling programs and our efforts will continue
in 2011 & beyond. While the amount of recycling being generated at our schools has increased,
so has the amount of non recyclable waste that must be disposed of at a cost, as well as e-waste
and other materials we must pay to have properly disposed.
29. Finally, what would be the impact of merging the duties of the Coordinator of
Maintenance and the Coordinator of Custodians? What is the role of the building
principals in overseeing the custodians assigned to their buildings?

# 29 - Merging both would have a serious impact on the daily supervision of 13 maintenance staff
and 93 custodians. Maintenance project & general work task delays would be experienced
throughout the district. The level of cleanliness at the schools would decrease. Productivity would be
severely affected and service levels would be lowered. While building principals provide an
important role in overseeing the general custodial activities during the day, their time is very limited
& their priorities should always be focused on the children & learning.