BOE unable to vote on fund request
The Darien Board of Education is still trying to decide how much money it will request from the RTM to offset the deficit it has incurred during this fiscal year.
The Board held a special meeting on Tuesday night in order to discuss the final number for its request. The district's deficit was reported to be $621,000 last month, but currently sits at about $234,000, according to Director of Finance Richard Huot.
The roughly difference in the deficit numbers from March to April can be accounted for by the redirection of stimulus funds, as well as a $156,000 credit, which will reimburse the Board for subsidized premiums for retirees.
When Board of Finance Chairman Murry Stegelmann first suggested seeking help from the RTM, he told the BOE, "[i]f we're going to do it, we might as well take it all out of the general fund."
Asking for additional appropriations to cover the entire deficit would help the board keep some kind of financial cushion for next year, Stegelmann told the BOE at a joint meeting on April 6.
During Tuesday night's meeting, Board members struggled with just how much they were comfortable asking the RTM to appropriate.
"I guess if we had to make a decision tonight, I guess $200,000 to $250,000 would get the job done," BOE Chairman Kimberly Westcott said.
"If we want to be on the safe side ... probably something around $300,000," Superintendent Donald Fiftal said.
But Board Vice Chairman Elizabeth Hagerty-Ross said $300,000 didn't seem like enough. She advocated adding another $25,000 to Fiftal's figure to compensate for possible summer school issues.
After much discussion about how much to request, Board Secretary Clara Sartori pointed out that the agenda for the special meeting only allowed the Board to discuss the budget, and therefore the Board would not be allowed to vote on Tuesday night. Boards are not allowed to stray from the language of agendas in a special meeting, or add new items.
The Board of Education will meet again on Friday, April 23, to decide how much money to request from the general fund to cover the current deficit.