Mallozzi Calls New Canaan School Budget Cut Responsible

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NEW CANAAN, Conn. – The New Canaan Board of Finance is doing the responsible thing by removing $2 million from the New Canaan Board of Education's spending proposal, First Selectman Robert Mallozzi III said.

The finance board plans to cut the amount from the school board’s requested $78.79 million spending plan for the 2013-14 school year. But the district would receive about $2.8 million - or about 3 percent - more than in the current $74.5 million budget, Mallozzi said.

Mallozzi, who is also chairman of the finance board, said he and his fellow finance board members care about the schools but are passing along a responsible spending plan. New Canaan can’t ask residents to foot a possible 6 percent budget increase when financial times are still tight, he said, and other town departments will not get 3 percent increases.

“Many people are feeling long-lasting effects of the recession of 2008 and 2009. As a Board of Finance, we have to be cognizant of that,” he said. “These aren’t the best of times.”

Mallozzi said he and the finance board cannot tell the school district where to make changes to fit the new budget number. “We’re not education experts,” he said.

New Canaan Superintendent of Schools Mary Kolek said she hopes a meeting with the finance board on Tuesday will convince it that the $2 million reduction would be too tough to take.

"We understand that the Board of Selectmen identified a guideline reduction of $2 million to our budget request," she said. "Such a reduction to our budget would have a significant  impact on programs and services - both in the short and long term,"

Kolek said she and other schools officials will provide the finance board with "the additional information they need and want in order to arrive at a final recommendation."

A public hearing will be hosted by the finance board March 12.

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Mallozzi ran his campaign on a platform that only benefits the retirees and employees of our town, and he is making good on that. Everyone should remember why people move here: OUR SCHOOLS. And the quality of our schools is what keep our real estate prices where they are....I sat this, not because my investment in my home is priority #1, but rather, to appeal to the people who think this paltry budget is enough to sustain our schools.

When the board approves a 2.3% salary increase for teachers, I expect the proposed budget reflect the decisions they made in the last contract negotiation. But the board of finance is not: the shortfall in the proposed budget will truly affect the quality of education our children receive. As the cost of energy and insurance continues to rise, programs and Capitol projects are falling by the wayside. Couple the board of finance's proposal with Malloy's ZERO budget increase for new Canaan schools, and you have a recipe for failure.

The number one component which sustains the quality of our town is being allowed to literally crumble (south school windows and cinder blocks) .....but hey, fancy new town hall!? Awesome, because that's why people move here, right? Yay, town hall.