Letter: Spending not ‘flat’ in school budget proposal

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To the editor,

The article “Budget proposal keeps Region 16 spending flat” (Citizen’s News, March 5, 2020) is a misnomer at best, and patently false at worst.

Yes, the budget itself is flat year over year, but the spending actually increased by at least $1.1 million. How can both a flat budget and an increase in spending be simultaneously possible?

It’s actually quite simple.

This fiscal year, the final payment of $1.1 million for the Woodland construction bond was budgeted and paid. That means that for next fiscal year, if spending was truly “flat,” the budget would be $1.1 million less than compared to this fiscal year. There is no other way the math would work. The self-congratulatory rhetoric, “…provide the resources we need for our students with a 0% increase,” leaves out that glaring fact.

The budget process started with an “extra” $1.1 million on the table. That could have gone two ways. If Region 16 spending was truly flat, then the proposed budget would have been lower by at least $1.1 million (year over year), which would have saved the Beacon Falls and Prospect taxpayers that amount, proportionally and according to their respective student populations.

Instead, spending was increased by at least $1.1 million, offset by the now retired Woodland construction bond payment.

In conclusion, yes the budget technically is “flat,” but the spending increased by over $1 million.

James Hagan

Beacon Falls