; Life is like champagne......: What to do with 3.2 Million dollars

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What to do with 3.2 Million dollars

How would you feel if you found out that you have been over taxed for the past 20 years in your town and an elected board is holding on to the money? Well this is exact what is happening in my town and I am pretty sure that only about two dozen people know about this. So how did this happened?
The Board of Education was advised by auditors that they were to always have a safety fund of about 7-9% put aside, just in case they needed it for an emergency. No one questioned it, after all, this was an auditing firm whom the town paid for and they should know the rules and regulations. It wasn't until recently that someone on the board question this money that it all started to unravel. The school district is Regional District 17 of Connecticut and the board member analyzed the regulations pointing out that only town school systems, not Regional Districts are to have this money set aside. Basically it is illegal to be holding this money and has been done for 20 years. The money adds up to a little over 2 million dollars. To add a little more fuel to this fire, there is about 1.2 million dollars of not used funds. So here we have about 3.2 million dollars of excess funds. We already know it is illegal to hold the money so how will they give it back? Do you just write a check to the tow towns and say "here you go, lower your mill rate for one year and raise it back up the next"? Do they just tack it on to the next years school budget not asking as much money(this scares me)? Well the board seems to think they can hold on to it, again, even though it is illegal to do so, by putting it in a trust fund. They need to just give it up, pass it back to the towns and move on. Once the general public of both towns find this out, there will be a lot of questions raised. My first question is the fact the towns paid for these auditors to come in with the knowledge of what to do and how many other districts are doing the same? The state might need to make a few phone calls to the Regional Districts or even the town attorneys may need to warn the state about this mishap. Either way, it does not look good for the Board of Education and for the current administration running both towns. Like in most towns, the education budget is the largest chunk of the financial pie. We use to be a town that questioned everything and shot down the budget after 10 plus referendums. I would think in this time of financial concern, more people would want to know where their money is being spent. Amazing what you can learn about going to a Board of Education meeting.

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