The $100 Million School Budget

Resident George Levinson questions the cost of education in Hamden, which is more than it may appear.


To the Editor:

Happy 100th “Anniversary” Hamden!

Sorry, it’s not exactly an anniversary and it surely is not happy. Hamden has now passed the $100 million spending level on the schools!

But the new school budget is “only” $80.3 million, you say? Not quite. You see, the Board of Education gets its health care and other benefits from the town essentially free, without any direct budget.

The board’s share of the whopping $33 million health care plan alone is over $20 million. That brings the total over $100 million, not even counting other pooled benefits.

By the way, the board intends to create 12 new positions, four teachers and eight lunch aides (previously part time) with their new bigger budget. Benefits for those people will add about another quarter million in hidden cost. It’s like the board has a right to pick the town’s pocket!

So what do we get for that princely sum? We provide mediocre education for 5,800 students, less than 10 percent of the population.

The math is simple: 100 million divided by 5800 is $17,240 per student. That’s one of the highest numbers in the state. How come our district is ranked 130th of the 165 districts in the state?

This taxpayer just doesn’t understand.

George Levinson

John June 06, 2012 at 11:53 PM
I gather math was hard for you. central office $1.4 million directors $1 million principal $2 million clerical $2 million ------------------- total $6.5 million teachers $38 million aides $2.2 million ---------------- Total $40.2 million Cutting the office costs in half would save $3.25 million and is basically a fantasy it's going to actually happen. Cutting teachers wages 10% would save $4 million. If they where never allowed to get as high as they are in the first place there would be a smaller problem. Every year they managed to get another 1/2 percent or so ends up compounding over the decades. Only simpletons would pay a grammar school gym teacher as much as a high school physics teacher. The BOE, town council, mayors over the years, people running the schools are all clueless to pass the contracts over the decades. The USA is one giant trailer park full of people without a clue. 2010/11 budget $131 million in property taxes, yeah cutting a few million out off the school front office costs is going to save the day, sure is simpleton thinking considering the pension funds are massively under funded.
John June 07, 2012 at 12:11 AM
George How much of the town muni debt is because of school construction, it's another off budget costs paying that debt so the real cost per student is even higher.
George Levinson June 07, 2012 at 05:12 AM
I'm very impressed. It looks like you folks are really starting to get it. The Board of Education is loaded with pork at every level. A gym teacher may make 85K, no surprise, half the teachers make that much. We have 31 administrators averaging about 130K, not even counting the Superintendent.. The half filled buses cost a total of 7 Million. We spend $700 per student on paper! and the list goes on. This year the teachers didn't get a raise so they piled on the pork everywhere.else. Next year the teacher's raises alone will add between 1 and 2 million. Many people are not aware, but Connecticut statute does not allow a town to cut the budget at all, even if enrollment drops, as ours has. This year was the one that we could actually have had ZERO increase but the politicians just couldn't handle it. Politicians like Mike D'Agostiino keep piling it on and the mayor and Council buys the party line claim that any fiscal responsibility at all would hurt the children. We all know it's not about giving them more money. Many towns deliver superior education for thousands less per student. We should freeze the BOE from any more money next year and every year until it actually improves its performance.. Force them to cut the fat and fire incompetent teachers. In the end education quality might actually improve as cost drops.
John June 07, 2012 at 09:42 AM
George I got it years ago and left town.
Dan Garrett June 07, 2012 at 12:19 PM
George, John has great advice. Buh bye.


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