Friday, March 26, 2010

Regional School Committee pulls a rabbit...

8:10 AM

So freshly minted Amherst School Committee member Sir Richard Hood thinks the Teachers Union members were a tad confused when they voted to give up 3 paid "professional development" days worth $350-K in exchange for voters approving the $1.68 million Override; in that they thought the money would stay in the school budget on top of the extra $1.1 million generated by the Override.

Now in order to appease the confused Teachers Union, the Regional School Committee is going funnel $255-K from reserves out of Excess and Deficiency account to bolster the Regional budget on top of the extra $$739,195 created by the Override.

As a separate legal entity the Region has its own slush fund called Excess and Deficiency (currently with just over $1 million stashed away for a rainy day) and the Elementary Schools do not have such a fund as they are 100% town of Amherst. Although Amherst children make up a whopping 80% of the Region.

The Elementary Schools will simply have to make due with the lousy extra $400,000 created by generous taxpayers.

The Springfield Republican Reports:

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Baker versus Carr....

Ed said...

A little off topic, but enjoyable:

http://www.star-telegram.com/2010/03/24/2065103/tarrant-county-college-cant-holster.html

Anonymous said...

And no one will complain.

Anonymous said...

I never thought Larry Keeley would be someone else's mouthpiece. As I live and breathe....

Anonymous said...

Don't worry Larry they will find a way to piss away that extra 95K. They should probably give it back to the teachers before they give it to someone who won't work for it.

Anonymous said...

This is EXACTLY why I voted no. I'll bet they have extra money showing up at the end of the school year again too. Classic.

Anonymous said...

Chump change.

Anonymous said...

I think Larrey's point is that it doesn't given anyone confidence we're getting clear thinking on finances when the teacher's union cuts a a deal it has no authority to cut - targeted giveback - and neither the SC or the Town Manager figures it out before the vote, and that a significant fund of cash suddenly appears to solve the problems posed by a targeted giveback.

PUT A TENT ON THAT CIRCUS!

Anonymous said...

Anyone interested in the Amherst Housing Authority ought to read this -- after THREE audits, the Executive Director STILL can't document her hours!
http://www.mass.gov/sao/Audit%20Reports/2009/200805973a.pdf

I am not making this up....

LarryK4 said...

Thanks Anon 11:09 AM!

I was having a rough morning. Yeah, you summed it up pretty well.

Anonymous said...

And, if the Town decided to go ahead with the full levy in order to appease the misinformed teacher's union, we would be hearing SCREAMS from Larry and Co. They keep to their promise AND the SC consents to kicking in some savings (which the NO folks wanted all along) to make up the difference and they still can't resist squawking about it. This "misunderstanding" is entirely on the SC/Union negotiators, in my opinion. Anyone who tuned in to the final BCG meetings, or read their summary points should have known the intent of the final override figure in relation to a rosier revenue picture. The "oops" is entirely on them. And they're stepping up to fix it, which I appreciate; as I appreciate town leaders for sticking with their promise to voters. It's all good in my view.

Also, for those who want to begrudge a savings account to the Regional School System, what will you say when an unforeseen problem comes up (roof collapses, boiler dies, etc.) and they're coming to taxpayers for out of budget money? Remind me what the total budget of the region is? Oh yeah, in FY '10 it was $27,776,352 and I think that's just operating expenditures, capital is on top of that. So the $1 mil in reserves hardly seems excessive to me. It's analogous to someone with a $56,000 income keeping a $2000 balance in emergency savings. Pretty minimal.

Anonymous said...

is that larry kelley thanking an anon?

must be someone he agrees with.

LarryK4 said...

Anon 2:45 PM
Yeah, I love your interpretation of "minimal".

As an ever-too-long Town Meeting member I remember in the early 90's when the town savings (currently $4 million) were BELOW $100,000.

And when was the last time we had a "(roof collapses, boiler dies, etc.)" at the Regional High School???

Only a dozen year ago we did a $22.5 million High School "debt exclusion" Override that failed the first time but then passed nine months later--so I would hope infrastructure is beyond catastrophic failure for a FEW more years anyway.

And that's what I also love about the "Vote Yes" drones who keep repeating the mantra about Amherst passing "only 2 Overrides in 30 years".

But if you count the "debt exclusion Overrides" (mostly relating to schools, but the occasional Fire Truck) there have been a LOT more than just those two "operational" Overrides...

Anonymous said...

The Town of Amherst is expert at playing the shell game at the expense of property owners. And yes, they've done it again. Now you see it, now you don't.
To finance a town on the backs of home owners is barbaric, especially when the deal made is based on dishonesty. One of these days I'll get it together to pack up, sell my house, and move to Hadley, and I'll be another lower- to-middle middle-class person who bites the Amherst dust and leaves the town (and the golf club) to those who like to think of themselves as the elite. I still think all you "yes" folks should have gotten together and paid for the damn override yourselves if you wanted it so badly. A horrendous joke has been played on all of us but a lot of you just don't get it, probably never will.

Anonymous said...

What's the joke? Aren't we paying less in taxes with this new arrangement for the SC to authorize money from E&D? What am I missing?

Anonymous said...

By less, I mean less than the original override number.

The Republican Reports:

"Based on revised numbers, the increased tax levy would be $1.17 million, said Finance Director/Assistant Town Manager John P. Musante. That would mean the average property owner with a home valued at $334,600 would see a $198 hike in property taxes in fiscal 2011 instead of $264."

Why is this bad news?

LarryK4 said...

Because the Finance Committee and BCG said not to spend reserves.

The Amherst Citizens for Responsible Change suggested it and we were laughed out of the ballot box.

Now town officials go and do it anyway.

And no matter what: next year the Override goes to the original $264 per average homeowner (PLUS 2.5%)

Try to pay attention.

Anonymous said...

I am paying attention Larry. It's just that you keep changing the dialog. First, the schools have too much money in reserves and are burdening taxpayers unnecessarily. Now, they shouldn't be using even a small amount of reserves because, um, ?????

$175,000 in reserves to allow for teacher concessions to go through seems a tad different than the full enchilada ($740,000 just for the Region) that the "responsible" folks wanted to have taken from savings, (along with no concessions).

And... we know the full amount can be taxed in successive years... and 58% of the people who cared enough to got to the polls voted approval for that. So maybe it's you that should be paying attention.

LarryK4 said...

Actually I believe the amount out of reserves is now up to $255,000. Plus the extra $100,000 from lower than expected state aid cuts plus the $350,000 if the Teacher givebacks did not have strings attached--more like steel cables--then the Override could/should have been for under $1 million--which I believe I mentioned (buried in these Comments as pointed out by the Grumpy Prosecutor) that even I could have supported it.

Anonymous said...

The NYC street cons who set up their shell games to part suckers from their money have nothing on the town of Amherst. They could take a few lessons from our local experts.

Anonymous said...

There's no winning with you and yours Larry.

fuck fuckherst said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
LarryK4 said...

New rule/clarification for posting Comments folks:

Since my 8-year-old daughter can now pull up on my wife's iphone the Youtube Billy Blanks knock out video W-A-Y faster than I could, I'm assuming when I'm not around she can also pull up this blog and read Comments.

So I'm going to start to administrate accordingly.

Although I will not take the same step as Catherine Sanderson and enable comment moderation.

Anonymous said...

Don't flatter yourself, thee's nothing on here of interest to an 8-year-old. In fact, there's hardly anything of interest for an adult.

LarryK4 said...

Hmm...So that dumb ass (obviously those words are okay) Comment stays.

Anonymous said...

If you are so worried about what your daughter sees then perhaps you should stop calling people offensive names.

LarryK4 said...

She's old enough to know all about Cowardly Anon Nitwits

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, soon she'll realize that daddy's an intolerant, thin-skinned bully.

Anonymous said...

I bet she already knows that.

Anonymous said...

Larry...if you want something to do, check out our three illustrious candidates for Amherst MS principal. Find out why one of them has changed jobs so often. (I know...). Buyer beware.