BOE, town watch state budget woes closely

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By Kim Becker

The Hartford Courant reported that the state legislature and the governor have reached agreement over the state’s budget and response to a nearly $1 billion fiscal shortfall. This is necessitating across-the-board cuts, and as many as 2,500 state workers will likely lose their jobs. Of greatest immediate concern to towns and cities across the state are proposed cuts to municipal grants, education cost-sharing grants, and assistance with transportation and special education costs. Across Connecticut, local administrators are anxiously looking at their own budgets.

Michael Guarco, chair of Granby’s Board of Finance, is not yet concerned, though he and others are closely watching the process. Final state numbers have not been given to municipalities. However, Guarco assures taxpayers that he does not anticipate any major changes to the town or school budgets.

Guarco admits that the state will be reducing aid overall; however, car tax revenue will remain the same. This means the total revenue will stable, though in different categories from current budgets.
The town will present its analysis of the financial situation at the Board of Finance meeting on Monday, May 23. Ron Walther, chair of the Board of Education, concurs with Guarco that the current budget should be sufficient.

Board of Education
The BOE is wrapping up several procedural issues as the school year winds to a close. They adopted a new food services policy, approved trips to Spain and France for the 2016-17 year, and are reviewing the conflict of interest policy for possible amendment.

The building committee reported that it has met with the Kelly Lane project contractors to develop solid dates and a timeline. There will be weekly meetings with “key personnel” as the project moves forward to assess progress and discuss concerns. Both Mark Fiorentino and Steve Royer reported that the schedule looks good and is very detailed. They anticipate few issues over the summer and look forward to an on-time completion.

Patricia Law, director of curriculum, updated the board on curriculum work scheduled for the summer. Projects include new science units for grades 6-8 and revisions for grade 9, new social studies units for grades 3-7, District-wide world language revisions, and ELA revisions for grades 3-8. Additionally, Algebra 1 and 7th grade math will be worked on. A variety of high school curricula will be revised or written in anticipation of the upcoming NEAS&C review.