Once, Twice, Three Times A Budget: Region 14 Budget Passes

The third Region 14 referendum did the trick and the district now has an approved budget.

The Region 14 budget passed, 1,105 to 1,027, districtwide, at the Tuesday, June 26, referendum. The budget failed twice at prior referendums on and .

The approved $30,437,674 budget features a 0.63 percent or $191,645 increase over the 2011-12 budget of $30,246,029.

Bethlehem Votes

  • Yes: 252
  • No: 231

Woodbury Votes

  • Yes: 853
  • No: 796


Voter turnout was 25 percent. Of the 6,558 people on the eligible voter list, 1,649 people voted.


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Diana June 27, 2012 at 08:21 PM
I do understand inflation- and an increase is an increase since everyone experiences inflation equally in regard to purchase power. It works the same for individuals. My buying power has decreased just as much, if not more than the town - as I am not eligible for bulk pricing. The car analogy is not exactly the same. See .... Each student uses the classroom space, each student rides the bus, each student used their "share" of the cirriculum .... so it's not a matter of one student using more than the other - the students are all using the materials. The materials will still cost the same regardless as to what percentage comes from each town. The costs to run the school and busses are the same regardless of what percentage of students are from one town or the other. The utilities still need to be on, the property still needs to be maintained, the teachers still need to be paid - all with no regard to which percentage of students come from either town. I chew just fine, thank you. (I am very familiar with accounting BTW)
Bill Generous June 27, 2012 at 08:24 PM
The bright side for now is that the mill rate was set at 22.58 for Woodbury which is a 0.53% increase. If it had been set based on the net regional school budget that passed on 6/26, the mill rate should really be 23.01 or 23.02 for a 2.49% increase. The median tax rate increase, adjusted for revaluation when applicable, for CT towns this budget season is 2.06%. Eventually taxpayers in Woodbury will have to foot the expenditure increase.
Sean Seanington June 27, 2012 at 08:26 PM
That's a nice story. But unemployment is way below the national average, and job growth is positive. And here is some food for thought. The mill rate in WB: 22.46 The mill rate in BM: 20.66 Ratio of the two: ~1.08 I don't have the numbers for each town in the region, but if Woodbury has anything over 1.08 times the number of students that it sends to school over Bethlehem, then it looks like Bethlehem is actually paying more if we look solely at the Mill Rate metric.
Sean Seanington June 27, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Bill, where did you get those numbers? Genuinely curious here, I would like to chew through them myself.
Diana June 27, 2012 at 08:43 PM
SS - you can't rely on the total mill rate as your only means of determing percentages - as those mill rates include each town's individual spending budgets as well. Break it apart and look at just the school related portion.
Sean Seanington June 27, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Just because everyone experiences inflation equally does not mean that you just ignore it; that because it is a general occurrence it doesn't mean it doesn't affect everything. That's not how it works. I don't know why you find this so difficult. Apparently you are knowledgeable in accounting (Balance sheets don't automatically divine knowledge about monetary happenings) but what you don't seem to understand is that inflation makes a huge difference here. Again, another example. The price of a gallon of milk in 1970 was $1.15, and the CPI was 38.8. Today, the average price of a gallon of milk is $3.43, with a CPI of 229.815. So, the price of milk inflated 1.982%, while monetary inflation was 4.92%. Nominally, yes your milk went up in price. But in real terms, the price of your milk went down, by $2.23 if you were to use money from 1970. And I am happy to hear that your mandibles masticate properly.
Sean Seanington June 27, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Ok I will. Thanks for clearing it up for me. Wasn't exactly sure how that metric worked, I haven't done anything will the Mill Rate before.
Diana June 27, 2012 at 08:54 PM
SS - just because you apparently haven't experienced a decrease in purchase power, don't belittle those who have. No one is ignoring reality - especially those who have lost jobs, have exprienced no increases in the past several years, and yes, gasp, expect the towns to not bleed everyone dry by increasing spending when there is no money left to give. Remember - inflation affects individuals just as much as it does the towns and the BOE. So I, as well as many others, cannot buy as much as we used to, either. But, unlike the town and BOE - I cannot expect to get an increase to even cover the cost of inflation. I have to cut back and try to squeeze more out of each dollar. Remember - 3% inflation coupled with 0% increase in revenues means an even greater cut in purchase power for the average individual. Thus, an increase in the budget (even accounting for inflation) will therefore be much larger in reality to those who have not had an increase in income to cover the cost of inflation.
Diana June 27, 2012 at 08:59 PM
SS - I believe you are missing the point. It's not about ignoring inflation - it's understanding that the town is asking for a cost of living increase - which is fine. But, the average person has not receved one in the past several years.
Sean Seanington June 27, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Diana, just because one has a 0% increase in one's paycheck does not mean that the entire community should suffer as a result. Yes, I understand that it sucks, but reality is that costs go up. The BOE cut back, I think quite drastically (although it did take them a while to ditch that Curriculum position) and is doing it's best to control costs. But what I have been arguing is that a .6 percent increase is not an increase in real terms. Just because an individual didn't make any more money last year doesn't make that untrue. It just means that that individual has to pay more in both real and in nominal terms. But that's life.
Diana June 27, 2012 at 09:08 PM
SS- I understand your argument that the .6 increase when adjusted for inflation is actually not .6 - but unfortunately, more people than you might think have had no increases in pay, and have lost their jobs. The BOE needs to face reality.
Sean Seanington June 27, 2012 at 09:16 PM
According to numbers I found online, the median household income went from $82,360 in 2009 to $91,760 in 2010, an over 10% increase.
Elena Bowen June 27, 2012 at 10:00 PM
We could always make our schools have no power & run by candle light & have the kids write on chalk boards. Maybe then we can make vor happy.
Bill Generous June 27, 2012 at 10:41 PM
I meticulously gather the information (I'm good with numbers and budgets so it isn't that hard for me). Most towns have budgets and/or minutes of meetings online to get budget totals and mill rates. Newspapers help with vote dates. Towns undergoing revaluation require more intensive analysis and grand list history by class for a number of years. Median Household Income for Woodbury (according to CERC) went from $85,843 in 2009 to $83,649 in 2010. As far as property tax rate increases over the prior 10 years (adjusted for revaluation when applicable), Woodbury ranks in the middle (83rd highest of 169 towns). However, it does rank very high for median property tax burden (136 highest of 169 town for Fiscal Year 2008-09 property taxes as a percent of income). Property taxes for that the tax burden measure are for homes and cars for those in single family houses.
Don Sherman June 29, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Ric is hostile to a conservative view. His comment about the Regional administration's tactic being smart is a mere observation. Proponents of the Alinsky school recognize the genius of such tactics, dishonest though they are. It will be interesting to hear two future responses: the first to the attorney's guidance regarding the (mis)use of a public asset to influence a vote. (I'm particularly curious about the ownership of the e-mail list. The Region is a statutory entity; do the Towns own the list or the Region?) The second is the response to the supplemental tax bill. Woodbury's deficit of nearly $700,000.00 will be borne by taxpayers who were told the budget increase was only 0.63%. (True; stated per Saul's teachings.) However, calculating Woodbury's portion of the EXPENSE of the approved budget tells another story. If the ADDITIONAL EXPENSE to Woodbury amounted to only 0.63%, Woodbury's portion of the Regional budget would total more than 111 MILLION dollars. Perhaps the administrators' inability to perform relatively simple calculations has an explanation? Perhaps they possess the same understanding of mathematics exhibited by current students, many of whom can not make change for a cash purchase? Of course, a more obvious, and believable, answer is the misstated number is a product of their guile. Even a graduate of Region 14, the region that "[...] has always settled for mediocrity [...]" (Board Member Linda Bulvanoski) can understand the deceit.
Voice of Reason June 29, 2012 at 12:53 AM
Jaimie Cura - Thank you for the link! I will sign up and I'll let my Region 14 friends know so they may be more informed.
Voice of Reason June 29, 2012 at 01:08 AM
Elena Bowen - VOR is quite happy with life, generally speaking anyway. However, many aspects of Government do make VOR put on a frowny face. That being said I did get a chuckle from your response and I thank you for that. Now, how about a thank you for my tax dollars that go towards your children? Rough calculations for the past half decade put it around seventy thousand dollars just for the school budget portion. How much more would you like? Does VOR get a say in it?
Elena Bowen June 29, 2012 at 03:16 AM
do you really think you can end public education!! That would be the only way to solve all the problems. I personally want my kids to go to a public school for reasons that i feel are important to me. I want my kids to have a good work ethic. I want them to know nothing is handed to you. I want them to know they can't be sheltered. I want them to know we as a community care that they grow up to be smart non- liberals. Funny i was told i was a leftist. Hmmm. Come on, seriously. Go walk thru the schools. You live in a beautiful town wether it be Bethlehem or Woodbury. Tell me after truly looking around that we are ok!! It's embarrassing. We need people to put in ideas to improve education. Support our future. You can't take your money with you. I just see life in a much more simple fashion. I just sometimes trust. Maybe i am naive, but i truly can open my heart & my mind to any and all possibilities, if they are not extreme. The only utopia i will see is when i meet my creator. The budget was held steady for a few years w Dr Cronin, but we humiliated and taunted him. I swear if they could have burned him at the stake it probably would have happened. Your ideas of parents paying taxes & u not paying is unrealistic. Maybe you should watch the scrooge. You have a blessed day. I will never win this argument.
Elena Bowen June 29, 2012 at 03:22 AM
I believe we should look out for the best interest of the community, not ourselves. I do believe there are issues with the gov't & the education process. I do believe the selectman needs to get more involved. I do believe i need to get more involved. I do believe you need to get more involved. It needs to start with the state. I however feel that the budget was fair. I do feel the vo ag needs to be looked at & they said they are looking into it. You have to take a step fwd.
Don Sherman June 29, 2012 at 11:23 AM
VoR said nothing about ending public education; you are confusing the issue. You want your kids to have a work ethic and understand nothing is handed to them? And they will acquire these traits in an environment where part-time employees are sheltered, coddled, and rewarded in ways full-time employees in the private sector rarely know? You want them to be non-liberals while being indoctrinated by change-agents? A number of lay people have studied the issues confronting education. They are consistently ignored by the learned "educators" whose agenda has nothing to do with educating children, whose definition of education is so far removed from foundation skills that when we confront them it's as though we are arguing in English while they respond in Russian. With regards to Cronin, he and Hubblebank did their best to deceive us, but worse is the fact that the School Board set Cronin up and let him take the fall for their own deception. They hired a person with expertise related to re-organizing a school system to do their bidding. The School Board made an unpopular decision outside the scope of their authority and sought political cover at Cronin's expense. Finally, VoR did not say he did not want to pay taxes (once again you are adding confusion to the discussion) while you pay. He echoed your sentiment that he wanted to be involved in the decision. Until we exercise local control over education, public education will remain unaffordable.
Don Sherman June 29, 2012 at 11:42 AM
Please, you "feel" the budget was "fair"; those are weasel-words used by the Left to portray conservative thinkers as uncaring, unfeeling, selfish boors. Let's ask whether there is a need, whether mandated or demonstrable, to add expense, and then evaluate the budget using quantifiable metrics. How any of us "feel" is irrelevant. The question is whether the money we spend is educating children so they can compete in a global market, or are we teaching them that feeling good is more important than feeling responsible?
Elena Bowen June 29, 2012 at 12:15 PM
I am not a leftist. Funny!! It is fair. If we had anymore takin away it would affect the kids. I think it would affect woodbury more. My kids already lose out on field trips that i abd i'm sure most people grew up going on. Enrichment makes them see outside a class room . We also would have larger class sizes. Don't you want the kids to grow up competitive?? Smarter & better than third world countries? I don't believe private schools are the answer. I pushed my soft issues because vor is so hardened. He is shows it clearly thru his writing. Talks as though we are all stupid. I first of all never claimed to no all the answers. I just feel the board volunteers their time. I think they are trying the best they can for what is presented to them. I have voluntereed it is not an easy task. All the respect in the world goes to them. Do you have a plan to fix the schools. The problem needs to be fixed at the state level. Malloy doesn't even know what he's doing with it.
Don Sherman June 29, 2012 at 01:41 PM
I never said you were a leftist, merely that your diction is similar. As to the field trips, when we grew up our parents had to pay for the field trips. If you could afford to go, great; if not, great. The field trips had value, but they were not the only avenue to "enrichment". Perhaps the difference is parental participation in their child's life. Competitive? (A concept the left abhors, by the way.) Smarter? Yes, hence the focus on education, not indoctrination. You "[...] don't believe private schools are the answer." Compare private school outcomes to government school outcomes; you may change your position. "Do you have a plan to fix the schools." No; suggestions. "The problem needs to be fixed at the state level." Agree it needs to start there. And, at least one Board member represented your interests: "I think Region 14 has always settled for mediocrity and part of the problem is the residents want us to come to them with a budget so low, it's ridiculous." (Former) Board member Linda Bulvanoski
Sean M June 29, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Elena, Given the climate in CT, the unions have too much power to do anything of real substance. You want all these things for your kids, you teach it to them. How is having our kids being taught by people who have never worked in the private sector a benefit to them? In order to accomplish what you want, you have to take from others. In order to accomplish what I want, you have to leave others alone.
Sean M June 29, 2012 at 10:02 PM
If you are not a leftist, you are surely acting like one. Do what is best for the community? That is basic communism and marxism there. My kids will do just fine because of what I teach them. I was a top performing student when I was in school and it got me nowhere. What I have used to obtain the success I have was all learned outside schools. The plan to fix education is as following: 1. No more mandatory union membership 2. No more guaranteed jobs aka tenure 3. No more paycheck deduction for dues. 4. Money follows the child. 5. Schools have to compete. Protecting the integrity of this will allow all problems to be worked out on their own.
Elena Bowen June 30, 2012 at 12:17 PM
Just one example Dan. A stident from Nonnewaug. Always went to public schools. He graduated valedictorian from UCONN's enginerring dept. when all these problems started with reconfig. I looked up on the internet public vs pricate. Could not find anything major. I kept my kids in public because of reasons i stated. Made me a leftist. Lol. I truly believe it's my job as the parent to stay on them and guide them. I'm also that protective mom that is going to fight fir their rights. The seniors that are invved know when rhere's a vote. I saw plenty of them when i was at the voting booth. It's not just the parents. Until we have state wide & nation wide answers i WILL support my schools. I know what the problems are.
Elena Bowen June 30, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Private schools, magnet schools do well because they can pick & choose the children. If the kids are not able to work in their conditions they can eliminate them. Ain't happening in public schools. No one is turned away.
Elena Bowen June 30, 2012 at 12:21 PM
Home schooling = perfect. In my career i have met MANY families that home school. I am actually HIGHLY jealous of those families. SADLY because of my situation and many people it can't be done:(
Don Sherman June 30, 2012 at 10:46 PM
I'm afraid I missed the transition from a cost to quality discussion. (Unless you interpret my sidebar as the transition.) Your one example does not surprise me. In fact, a large number of Region 14 graduates have earned advanced degrees. Their success is testament to their initiative and drive, primary factors determining an individual's level of achievement. If your research did not reveal differences you consider significant, that is your interpretation of the data. My observation is that there is a huge cultural difference between private and government schools. My conclusion from the data I've seen suggests private-school students will become more confident and self-reliant, factors affecting whether an individual is internally motivated. And no, not just the parents were aware of the vote; fiscal conservatives spread the word through their own network, but should not have had to do so. The Region targeting likely "yes" voters is a problem that should be addressed in Court.
Woodbury broke July 23, 2012 at 12:49 AM
My momma always told me "There is no fool like an old fool." Look at that vote yes sign - does that belong to McTraitor? He cost us the vote, and we get an additional tax bill for it. I propose we named the special extra tax bill the Dunc bill.


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