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Fairfield RTM Trims School Budget by $250K

The body will continue its budget deliberations tonight at 8 p.m. in the large gym at Fairfield Warde High School.

The will have to meet again tonight to conclude a vote on the town’s Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) budget, but the body pruned the $149 million Board of Education budget by $250,000 Monday and cut a $27,810 line item from the H. Smith Richardson Golf Course’s allocation.

The two motions -- which account for 0.1 percent of the overall budget -- transpired within three hours of deliberation, during which the existing $273 million combined town and school operating budget was voted down in a 20-29 vote.

Before discussion on the vote began, RTM moderator Jeffrey Steele, R-2, looked back on the process that lead the town to the final step of the budget process.

“There has been a lot of debate and emotion about the budget…probably the most in recent years,” he said, referring to the April 30 RTM budget hearing that elicited passionate public comment.

RTM Majority Leader David Becker, R-1, opened the night by addressing fellow RTM members and the public on the future of the budget and the loss of an opportunity to “implement structural reform” to the budget approval process.

“We need to act quickly to stop $10-million-a-year increases…the RTM needs to break the cycle,” he said. “Tonight’s vote is the beginning of what we hope is a fruitful conversation about budget reform.”

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Following the rejection of the Board of Finance-approved budget presented to the RTM, Becker acknowledged and moved to reduce the school budget by $250,000, or .17 percent, instead of the proposed $2.9 million cut.

“I do think in the long run we need to cut down increases,” Becker said. “I’m very comfortable that this won’t be a service-level type of reduction…I think we need to leave it at that at this time.”

Ed Bateson, R-3, agreed. “I think we can live with this.”

Some representatives argued for keeping maintaining the school budget as presented by the Board of Finance. Hal Schwartz, D-7, contended that the cut $250,000 from the school budget in March and the later restored it.

“I’m not sure we can saw we know better than the Board of Finance,” Schwartz said of the decision to maintain the education budget as is.

Josh Garskof, D-5, warned that any cuts to programs would likely never make it back into future school budgets, like last year’s reductions to middle school Spanish classes, middle school junior varsity sports teams, and late bus routes for the high schools.

“Who knows what permanent cuts we’ll make, cuts that will never come back.”

Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Title said he could not “hazard to guess” what the $250,000 reduction would translate to in terms of services or programs cut, but he will likely make recommendations to the Board of Education similar to the ones he made last year, like

The motion to trim the school budget carried 27-21, with one abstention.

The body’s final act before adjourning was to cut $27,810 from the budget, which will put off the replacement of a 1991 mower.

Joe Palmer, R-4, who proposed the cut, said he had spoken with Director Gerry Lombardo prior to the meeting and that Lombardo “seemed comfortable” with the idea.

“We will make do, but we’d prefer not to,” Lombardo told the RTM, explaining that the mower is often “in the shop getting fixed.” But Lombardo did not believe golf course maintenance would be compromised for the season if the proposal carried -- and it did, in a 34-14 vote.

The RTM will meet at 8 p.m. tonight in the large gym at to discuss and vote on the rest of the budget.

Fairfield native May 16, 2012 at 02:13 AM
John there was NO point...that is the point. I guess....
Fairfield native May 16, 2012 at 02:14 AM
There was no reply except "it's very clear you have missed the point"...you did not make a point! Here is my point: own it, learn from it and grow.
Cathy May 16, 2012 at 10:33 AM
I thank all of you for you help with the Ludlowe vs. Warde school rankings information and opinions. I just wish things didn't have to get so nasty with calling people names. Just because it's a post doesn't mean our words don't hurt other peoples feelings.
Fairfield native May 16, 2012 at 11:35 AM
This is really not about Ludlowe vs. Warde to me- it is about one being "superior" to the other. It is just not true and it is a disservice to spread that rumor.
maryHelen Melnick May 16, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Fairfield native: As I mentioned I guess you just did not understand and its not about being superior which tells me you just missed it and the case it closed. no more posts. the subject is a done deal. thank you.
R. Ludlowe May 16, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Ha. "case closed". That's typically the reaction when someone has painted themselves into a corner and realize that have no actual facts nor figures to back up their fallacious claims. MaryHelen, I'm not sure which decade you attended Ludlowe-- and frankly, it doesn't matter. Comparing the teaching styles of the past, from a students PoV, mind you, is completely irrelevant to the current topic of 2012 ratings. So much has changed in even the last 20 years in teaching, technology, demographics, etc. It would be very interesting to know why there is a difference in the ratings from someone that truly understands the issue. What ranking did Warde receive, btw? How far apart were they?
Fairfield native May 16, 2012 at 01:26 PM
Why is it that no other reader here understands what your "point" was??? We are all relaying the same message to you- your comments are unfounded and fallacious and only spurs elitism. Please stop.
maryHelen Melnick May 16, 2012 at 01:36 PM
R. ludlowe and fairfield native: first I give myself alot of credit I'm not afraid to use my real name . second I did not give a typical reaction when as you put it painted myself into a corner. i just do not want to go back and forth i your typical bicker and fight routine I have seen you do in this sight.I'm done with the subject. Yes please stop.no my comments are not fallacious . your making the subject get old and I'm done with it so please stop. Thank you.
R. Ludlowe May 16, 2012 at 01:43 PM
call us when your shuttle lands, MH.
R. Ludlowe May 16, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Here is the link that compares both schools: http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/connecticut/districts/fairfield-school-district We also have to consider that USNews & World Report may have just done a crummy job with this analysis. If you look at all of the rankings, Warde looks to be better than most of the other ranked schools, and nearly identical to Ludlowe.
Fairfield native May 16, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Thank you R. Ludlowe for sending the link out- that is the only way to counteract false and hurtful statements to the public. Much appreciated!
Cathy May 16, 2012 at 04:08 PM
I want to thank Mary Helen for giving me her honest opinion on the difference between Warde and Ludlowe. She wasn't looking at any reports just posted on what her experience was in the past. I feel like everyone is ganging up on her and I'm sure we are all adults and should act that way whether it be in person or online.
Fairfield native May 16, 2012 at 04:15 PM
If you make a statement that is false and detrimental to others then you need to be able to back it up with fact. Please be a responsible poster.
maryHelen Melnick May 16, 2012 at 04:37 PM
fairfield native: I am and I also do not post not using my real name,
maryHelen Melnick May 16, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Cathy: Thank you for your kind words. I wish you child many productive years in school.
R. Ludlowe May 16, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Oh, MaryHelen, you are such an enigma! quotes from today: "...first I give myself alot of credit I'm not afraid to use my real name ." "...I also do not post not using my real name" My head spins!
Caitlin Mazzola (Editor) May 16, 2012 at 04:46 PM
At Patch we always appreciate a healthy debate in our comments thread, but please keep in mind the importance of being respectful to all commenters and to follow our Terms of Use (which you can find in the "Terms of Use" link at the bottom of this page.) Thank you.
Fairfield native May 16, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Also- Please do not post unsubstantited opinions that can be detrimental and create division within our community. Thank you.
maryHelen Melnick May 16, 2012 at 06:13 PM
fairfield native: maybe its time to just put and end to your complaining or get off patch.Its a done deal i've moved on why don't you. THANK YOU!
Fairfield native May 16, 2012 at 06:15 PM
I am sorry to see that you are not able to understand what we are asking of you.
maryHelen Melnick May 16, 2012 at 06:16 PM
r. Ludlowe: I've moved on why don't you. i'don't car to be part of oyur constant complaining routine where you constantly findn something to constantly to pick about. As I said i've moved on why don't you .
maryHelen Melnick May 16, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Fairfield Native: I do get it. i've just moved on and why don't you.
Fairfield native May 16, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Thanks. I appreciate you understanding. I will move on now.
tfd May 16, 2012 at 07:04 PM
I just read all the back and forth between MaryHelen and Fairfield Native and R. Ludlowe. While I disagree with the tone that Fairfield Native and R Ludlowe may have taken, they do have a point. MaryHelen, if you feel that Ludlowe is and/or was a better school because of football and caps and gowns, that maybe you did miss the the point of what education is really about. It appears that the superior education you received did not equip you with the ability to express yourself clearly. With all due respect, if you make such statements you should be able to back them up a little better than "case closed". Obviously there are at least several of us who do not understand your point.
maryHelen Melnick May 16, 2012 at 07:08 PM
Fairfield Native: good now in the future maybe you can find another place to post to advoid waisting time of other members of the patch community like myself who use this online site in a constructive manor to post views.
maryHelen Melnick May 16, 2012 at 07:11 PM
tfd: I see that cathy who posted in my defense did. I've move on thank you. please do the same so this site can be used for olther than back and forth posting.
tfd May 16, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Cathy must have gone to Warde
R. Ludlowe May 16, 2012 at 07:26 PM
'Spelling' must not have been in the Ludlowe curriculum during your days there. Sorry, I digress. I will now move on.
maryHelen Melnick May 16, 2012 at 07:38 PM
tfd: If you had read the other post her children go to warde.
maryHelen Melnick May 16, 2012 at 07:54 PM
r.ludlowe; If the only thing you have to do all day is nit pick with people then maybe you should find some other way to use you time than to constantly pick a persons post and people apart hiding behind a fake name. sometimes people do have spelling errors. flor me it was called a fractured scull which resulted in several problems with writing and spelling.I would love to be a constant fountian of knowledge such as yourself but a the fractured scull i had do to an accident put a damper on many plans I had for success.I was just thankful that I lived so i could be a mother to my five children who were very young at the time.it was no fun to have to learn to walk and talk and learn to do everyday activities we all take for granted.if you can't be respectful on this site then post somewhere else and stop waisting space.

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