As the Board of Education develops the 2019-20 budget, presentations and key documents will be posted below.
- Budget Workshop (2/6/19)
- Enrollment and Staffing (1/22/19)
- BOF Materials for December Tri-Board Meeting
- BOE Materials for Tri-Board Meeting
- Special Education Program Review and Budget (1/8/19)
- 2020-2025 Capital Improvement Plan DRAFT (1/8/19)
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
Budget Calendar (pdf)
- Historical Docs/Previous Budget Years
- Contracts & Negotiations
- Superintendent's Communications
- Town & Regional Collaboration
- 2018-19 Superintendent's Budget Presented 2/13/2018
- 2019-2024 Capital Improvement Plan Approved 2/13/2018
- 2018-19 Budget Line Item Summary Presented 2/13/2018
- Budget Workshop Presentation Presented 1/23/2018
- 2018-19 Staffing & Enrollment Presented 1/23/2018
- 2018-19 Special Education Budget Presented 1/23/2018
- BOE BOS Budget Mailer (mailed to residents Spring 2018)
- 2018-19 Budget Context (Presented 12/12/2017)
- HJMS Phase III Capital Project (Presented to BOF 3/13/2018)
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 (7/1/18-6/30/21) 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 here as dates are confirmed.
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.
The Town of Simsbury and the Simsbury Public Schools are working together to cut costs and share resources. Below is a list of some of our efforts to engage in cost-saving measures.
- Cooperative Technology planning and IT audit with Blum Shapiro
- SHS Solar Project grant funding obtained through Town Clean Energy Task Force and DPW Director efforts
- Joint efforts to extend natural gas and fiber optic cable to shared maintenance facility and DPW complex on Town Forest Road
- Town provides IT support to BOE Central Offices
- BOE Microsoft Exchange server (e-mail) shared with Town
- Shared technology network and fiber infrastructure
- Simsbury Library added to BOE internet connection with CEN
- Energy management information system / services
- Energy procurement / efficiency projects
- Health Insurance carrier consolidation
- Creation of a high deductible health plan (HDHP)
- Affordable Care Act implementation
- Shared membership in new stop-loss insurance captive entity with CREC
- Human Resources information systems review
- Creation of a defined compensation retirement plan
- Shared financial management system/ Town use of BOE server room
- Two school resource officers
- Town maintenance of school athletic fields
- Shared town hall offices
- Town use of schools for culture/recreation programs
- Cooperative bidding (fuel oil, insurance, actuarial services, etc.)
- Shared voluntary advisory boards (insurance, retirement)
- Town and BOE participation on employee interview processes
- Town Engineer/Director of Capital Projects support of BOE Capital Projects
- Cooperative capital projects (emergency generators)
- Town use of school buses
- Town sand sweeping of school lots
- Town provides access to de-icing material for schools
- Schools are town polling places and major meeting locations
- Schools serve as town emergency shelters
- BOE participation in emergency operations center and public safety subcommittee
- Shared employee participation in wellness programs and new Simsbury Employee Life and Fitness (SELF) program
- Shared Budget Mailer to residents prior to referendum
- BOE support for Town’s Bicycle Friendly Community Award and efforts
- Town support for Safe Routes to School Program implementation
The Simsbury Public Schools also engages in regional cooperation with other school districts in order to aggregate buying power as well as avoid duplication of administrative and procurement services. Simsbury joins with 9 of its neighboring districts in North Central Connecticut in the Educational Resource Collaborative (ERC) and representatives meet regularly to share information and look for additional ways to achieve practical efficiencies through cooperation. Recently the ERC was featured in the December 2015 report on Regional Cooperation Between Local Boards of Education by the state Program Review and Investigations Committee. In addition to purchasing supplies and commodities, Simsbury utilizes cooperation with neighboring districts to provide services on a more cost effective basis than we could do alone as outlined below:
- Utilization of state bid contracts
- ERC copier services bid – Cooperative bid
- ERC fixed asset inventory – Cooperative bid
- ERC environmental services – Cooperative bid
- ERC Substitute Teachers Program
- Regional heating fuel oil bid
- Regional vehicle gasoline and diesel fuel bid
- Regional school supplies, art supplies, audio-visual equipment and custodial supply purchase
- ERC oversight of Regional Farmington Valley Diagnostic Center administered by CREC
- Farmington Valley Transitional Academy at University of Hartford (a cooperative program with Farmington Public Schools that serves many other districts in the Hartford Region)
- Simsbury shares its Director of Nursing with Farmington Public Schools
- Simsbury shares its Teacher of the Deaf with Farmington Public Schools
- Special Education Consortium-Professional development
- Some cooperative shared transportation
Q. What was last year's budget increase?
A. The 2018-19 budget increase last year was 1.5%. Superintendent Curtis originally proposed a budget of 1.75% in order to maintain existing programs and services.
Q. What guideline has the Board of Finance (BOF) given for operating expenditures in 2019-20?
A. The BOF has given the BOE a guideline of 2.00% and the Town a guideline of 2.72%.
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. As student enrollment decreases are we reducing the number of teachers?
A. In the 2018-19 school year, student enrollment decreased by 21 students, the majority at Henry James Memorial School (48 student decline). This is a total of 22 students above our projection. Over the past 10 years, overall enrollment has declined from 4,908 to 4,018 a reduction of 890 students. During this same time period the decline in staffing was 55.49 FTE. We anticipate the largest student decline to occur at SHS in 2019-20 and are recommending a corresponding reduction of 3.0 FTE. Over the next five year period we expect the district enrollment to become stable.
Q. Have you considered reconfiguring the school buildings in light of the enrollment decline?
A. The 2018-19 budget included funding for a Facilities Master Plan and Reconfiguration Study. Tecton Architects was hired in mid-November to perform this task. Tecton will prepare a detailed inventory of all buildings and identify capital improvement and maintenance needs over the next 10 years. In addition, the engineering firm of Milone & MacBroom will analyze student population data in order to review alternate configuration concepts. Next fall a public input session will be held on the potential options.
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. With the BOE budget increases of no more than 2% over the past 10 years, has the school district been able to enhance or add any programs?
A. The school district introduced full day Kindergarten and the Simsbury Reading Intervention Program (SRIP) during these lean budgets. In addition staffing has been added in the form of Math Instructional Coaches, special education teachers, special education paraeducators, elementary social workers, preschool support and a Ready, Set, Go program facilitator. We have also increased access to the SHS Learning Clusters and moved to a block schedule at HJMS.
Q. Have we done anything to reduce the cost of employee benefits?
A. Beginning in 2014-15, the BOE has offered a High Deductible Health Plan and those who choose to continue to participate in the HMO or PPO must pay the difference between what the BOE would have paid in premium plus the applicable BOE payment to offset the deductible amount for the HDHP in addition to the cost of participating in the HMO or PPO. All new employees hired only have the HDHP option available to them. For those employees who are pension eligible, beginning on July 1, 2013 all new employees will be enrolled in a Defined Contribution Retirement Plan rather than a Defined Benefit Retirement Plan.
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. 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. How does Simsbury’s per pupil expenditure compare to area towns and the state?
A. In 2017-18 Simsbury’s per pupil expenditure was $17,147. We ranked 11th out of 27 area towns. The state average is $17,974. Simsbury ranks 92nd out of 169 towns in the state.
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.
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.