I’m writing to support the Clinton Board of Education (BOE) budget. As a lifelong resident of Clinton and someone who now raises his family in this wonderful community, I truly want the best for Clinton and all the residents. Most times I feel the town flourishes through the funding of youth programs, spending on education, community development, investing in our elderly, and other similar projects. On the other hand, I have worked in the financial services industry for close to 30 years and work on budgets for a living. I understand the concept of being fiscally responsible. In general, we need to “spend intelligently.”
When considering spending on the education of our children and grandchildren, Superintendent of Schools Maryann O’Donnell and the BOE have worked tirelessly to present a budget to the Town of Clinton that is very financially prudent. Of course, we did this while making sure the children continue to get a top-notch education. This will always be our first priority.
Please consider these facts. The total combined BOE budget to be voted on at referendum is only a 1.18 percent increase. We do not overspend in Clinton, in fact we have one of the lowest per-pupil expenditures in the surrounding area. At $19,295, we are lower than Westbrook, Old Saybrook, and Haddam Killingworth. Yes, enrollment has decreased since 2016, but staffing has been reduced as well at an appropriate rate. Once again, the quality of the education must be held to the highest standard.
In July 2019, the BOE negotiated a new deal that has since saved an estimated $2 million in reduced health insurance contributions, resulting in a 2021-’22 total budgeted amount for health insurance being lower than the 2017-’18 budgeted amount. This is a solid budget that has been thoroughly vetted.
Chris Passante (D) serves on the Board of Education.