New way to pay superintendent
How will towns divide expense?
BY RUTH EPSTEIN
FALLS VILLAGE — Opinions on whether to change the way Region 1 towns divvy up the superintendent’s salary are varied.
A proposal put forth by the All Board Chairmen Committee has the six towns, as well as a high school, each paying one seventh of the superintendent’s pay package. The towns always have been assessed proportionately based on their school population, which is how the costs are distributed for the operation of Housatonic Valley Regional High School, special education and the central office. Under the new arrangement, some towns would be paying more than their current assessment and others less.
The ABC Committee has been working on revising school governance, and some members said they believe this would be a more equitable arrangement.
At this past week’s meeting of the Canaan Board of Selectmen, member Charles Perotti said he heard from his niece Dolores Perotti, chairman of the town’s Board of Education, asking for the selectmen’s support of the proposal. He said she noted that the superintendent gives all the towns an equal amount of her time without favoritism. The selectman said he heard Falls Village is pushing back on the idea.
“We’re not getting more hours because we’re a bigger town nor is Falls Village getting less,” Charles Perotti said.
Selectman Susan J. Clayton said that is one item where population shouldn’t come into play. “There are certain things in the budget that don’t apply and I think this is one of them,” she said.
THE CHANGE FOR THE TOWNS’ LEVIES would be the following if the proposal is approved: Canaan, a reduction of $13,902; Cornwall, an increase of $12,364; Falls Village, an increase of $15,485; Kent, a reduction of $7,230; Salisbury, a reduction of $9,290, and Sharon, an increase of $2,574.
Jennifer Weigel of Salisbury said the board doesn’t have funds, so it should be left to each local board.
Ned Gow of Canaan said because the superintendent’s job is the same for all boards, “there is logic in using a straight division.”
Downs said she wasn’t sure it makes sense to break out 1 percent of the budget and handle it differently. No vote was taken.
Here is what Region One Report thinks:
Falls Village an increase of $15,485
Cornwall an increase of $12,364
Sharon an increase of $2,574
North Canaan a reduction of $13,902
Salisbury a reduction of $9,290
Kent a reduction of $7,230
If this plan were actually put in place by the Region 1 board….a myriad of lawsuits from taxpayers would result. Why? This is why: Taxpayers in Falls Village, Cornwall and Sharon would be asked to pay more per taxpayer to fund Region 1 than individual taxpayers in North Canaan, Salisbury and Kent. The small towns would be carry the larger towns that have a much bigger tax base.
Whats next? Sam Herrick’s salary? Teachers contracts? The Housatonic Valley Regional High School fuel bill? Where does it stop?
This is meant to be a Regional School District with every town paying their FAIR SHARE to fund it. That includes the superintendents salary. This is a very sad development, with the Superintendent actually going from town to town at local board meetings pushing local boards to support this. Instead of worrying about her salary (boy would lots of people in the Region 1 area love to worry about having her salary!), maybe the Superintendent should worry about why, under her leadership, in the past two years the region is paying out almost $400,000.00 due to legal actions on behalf of or due to both the Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent. Thais $400,000.00 taken directly out of educating our students.
If the ABC continues on this path, there will be possibly hundreds of thousands of more spent on a legal fight with taxpayers, and boards of finance from the smaller towns.
This battle has not yet begun, but we are ready to rally people in the smaller towns to fight for their rights. This is a battle that will be joined, and a battle that will cost thousands of additional dollars for the district that could go towards education.
If the ABC and Region 1 boards want to save the taxpayers money, a couple of great first steps would be to stop al the buy-outs, and cut the bloated expense in the Central Office.