Discussion and prioritization of budget items at the grade/department level in conjunction with Building Principals/Director
Superintendent/Business Manager/Assistant Superintendents meet with principals to discuss budget proposals and building improvements
Budget workshops begin with Board of Education
Board of Education budget workshops culminate in operating budget adoption (late Feb.) and BOE adopts 6-Year Capital Improvement Plan for submission to the Town
BOE presentation to the BOF (capital and operating budgets)
Public hearings on BOE, Town, and capital budgets
Budget Referendum at Henry James Memorial School
- 2016-17 Budget
- Contracts & Negotiations
- Regional Cooperative Efforts
- Superintendent's Communications
Contracts & Negotiations
Following are the existing collective bargaining agreements negotiated by the Board of Education with its recognized employment groups.
- NAGE/NAME (effective 7/1/16-6/30/19) National Association of Municipal Employees Agreement covering custodial and maintenance personnel
- SSNA (effective (7/1/15-6/30/18) Simsbury School Nurses Association
- SEA (effective 7/1/17-6/30/20) Simsbury Education Association covering certified teachers
- SSASA (effective 7/1/17-6/30/20) Simsbury School Administrators and Supervisors Association
- SFEP (effective 7/1/17 – 6/30/20) Simsbury Federation of Educational Personnel
Each year, Superintendent Matthew T. Curtis meets with parents, community members and teachers on the topic of the budget. Opportunities to meet with the superintendent about the budget will be posted on our Budget Calendar. Mr. Curtis also keeps the public informed about the budget process through monthly letters sent via our email notification system. To sign up to receive these communications, go to any of our school websites and click on the "Email Notification" tab on the lefthand menu.
Budget-related Excerpts from Superintendent's Letters:
(From November 2016): "Our last Board of Education (BOE) meeting in October was the kickoff to the budget season. We have distributed budget forms, a budget calendar, and other information to building principals and directors. Budget items are being discussed and prioritized at the grade/department level. In December my central office administrators and I will meet with each principal to discuss budget proposals and building improvements. Board of Education budget meetings begin in January, with the adoption of the 6-Year Capital Improvement Plan and operating budget in February. On March 14th, the BOE budget is submitted to the Board of Finance (BOF). In early April, the BOF holds public hearings on the Town and BOE operating budgets. In mid-April, the Board of Finance approves the Town and BOE operating budgets. On May 9th, the budget referendum will be held at Henry James Memorial School."
Q. What was last year's budget increase?
A. The 2016-17 budget increase last year was 1.94%. Superintendent Curtis originally proposed a budget of 2.20% in order to maintain existing programs and services.
Q. What is an FTE?
A. FTE is the abbreviation for full-time equivalent. An FTE represents the equivalent of one full-time staff position and can be one individual or various part-time assignments equaling one position.
Q. Why do we fund a Non-Public School budget?
A. CT General Statues, Section 10-217 requires each town which provides health and welfare services for children attending the public schools shall provide the same health and welfare services for children attending private schools therein, not conducted for profit, when a majority of the children attending the private schools are from the State of Connecticut. This results in the Simsbury Board of Education providing school nurse and psychological services to St. Mary’s School, The Masters School, and the Cobb School. CT General Statues, Section 10-281, concerning provisions for bus transportation for children attending qualifying private schools requires that the same kind of transportation services provided for public school children be provided for children attending private schools when the majority of children attending those schools are from the State of Connecticut. The Simsbury Board of Education buses Simsbury children attending St. Mary’s School and provides mileage reimbursement to parents of Simsbury children attending The Masters School, Cobb School, Westminster School and Ethel Walker School.
Q. As student enrollment decreases are we reducing the number of teachers?
A. In 2008-09 the number of staffing positions was 698 and in 2016-17 it was 654 – a reduction of 44 positions. For the 2017-18 budget we anticipate that it will be possible to eliminate additional teacher positions due to a decrease in enrollment. Because decreases in enrollment occur across grades and across school districts there cannot be an automatic reduction in teachers based on the reduced number of students.
Q. Pupil transportation seems like a big expense. Why not ask parents to help pay for busing students to school?
A. Based on state statute, school districts are required to provide transportation to resident children and cannot charge for this service. Under Connecticut law, “each local or regional board of education shall furnish, by transportation or otherwise, school accommodations” to resident children (C.G.S. 10-186 (a) and C.G.S. 10-220).
Q. What happens if the budget fails at the first referendum?
A. Simsbury Town Charter Section 910: The Board of Finance, in cooperation with the First Selectman, shall revise the annual budget, or portion thereof, which has been rejected at the referendum, as the case may be, and present it at a subsequent Town Meeting for discussion and an additional referendum for acceptance. Such subsequent Town Meeting and additional referendum shall be scheduled by the Board of Selectmen. If the budget remains unaccepted after such reconsideration meeting and referendum, the budget adopted for the then current fiscal year shall be deemed to be the temporary budget for the forthcoming fiscal year and expenditures may be made on a month-to-month basis in accordance therewith, until such time as the referendum finally adopts a new budget. Most often, if the budget does not pass it is lowered rather than increased.
Q. Does the Nutrition Services Department generate revenue for the school district?
A. The Nutrition Services Department operates as a separate cost center with a separate budget and is a self-funded program. The Board of Education budget includes a contribution of 10% of the Director of Food Services salary.
Q. Are the course offerings at SHS examined each year?
A. Yes. Each year, Department Supervisors and the Principal review the Program of Studies and the Learning Clusters booklet and make needed adjustments to course offerings. Over the last several years, many classes have been eliminated from the Program of Studies and replaced with more relevant offerings that emphasize 21st Century Skills, such as Engineering, Biomedical Science and Financial Literacy.
Q. How will I know the impact on the school district of the proposed budget reductions?
A. As the reduction list continues to be refined an updated list will be posted in the Budget Documents portion of our Budget Update section of the website. The reduction list includes impact statements related to the individual items on the list.
Q. Will we ask people who don’t need insurance to give up their coverage, and what would be the compensation?
A. Because the Town of Simsbury and the Simsbury Board of Education are self insured for our medical and dental programs, we would not be offering a monetary incentive for staff to not take coverage as there would not be a financial benefit to the district. In a self-insured plan, instead of purchasing health insurance from an insurance company and paying the insurer a per-employee premium, the employer acts as its own insurer. In the simplest form, the employer uses the money that it would have paid the insurance company and instead directly pays health care claims to providers. Self-insured plans often contract with an insurance company or other third party to administer the plan, but the employer bears the risk associated with offering health benefits..
Q. How does Simsbury’s per pupil expenditure compare to area towns and the state?
A. In 2015-16 Simsbury’s per pupil expenditure was $16,048. We ranked 12th out of 27 area towns. The state average is $16,873. Simsbury ranks 96th out of 169 towns in the state.
Q. What is the school district doing to save on utility costs?
A. The school system participates in cooperative, competitive bids for the purchase of our heating and vehicle fuels and locks in pricing when feasible for a fixed period of time at the best available price. We recently locked in our electrical generation costs for a three-year period below the level of the costs incurred during the prior three years.
Additionally, we have invested in automated digital controls to adjust the temperatures in our facilities given the various occupancy levels/ programs occurring at the time. We strive to keep the temperatures in the 66-68º range during the school day recognizing that the Connecticut Department of Health recommends that an occupied building setting not be lower than 65º. Given the age of some of our buildings and the combination of pneumatic and digital controls, we do experience variability in temperatures within our facilities which we are continually attempting to standardize. Through a cooperative effort with Connecticut Light and Power, we have installed energy saving lamps and ballasts in all our facilities along with occupancy sensors in locations where appropriate.
Q. How much are the pay-to-participate and parking fees at the high school and how is this revenue utilized?
A. The fees collected from students for parking at Simsbury High School are utilized to pay for the student activity late buses from our secondary schools as well as the annual cost of maintenance / repairs to the high school parking lot which includes line striping, repair of winter damage, etc. The fees may also be used to support student activities at the high school. The student parking fee is $150.00 per year. The interscholastic athletic pay-for-play fees are utilized to support certain costs of the interscholastic athletic program at Simsbury High School which are not funded in the Board of Education operating budget including contest fees and officials, equipment and supplies. The pay-for-participation fee is $175 per student per sport with a family maximum of $700. Special assessments for ice hockey and swimming do not count toward the family maximum. These assessments are used toward the payment of the rental of practice facilities for these sports.