Bad math on school issue
To the editor,
The Stamford Advocate’s front page report on May 1 — “Staff shortage issue worsens” — is very troubling. There seems to be an alarming lack of control/oversight on school custodial spending. The article suggests that the seven open custodial positions have caused $2 million of overspending.
If we use $65,000 per position ($25 per hour plus benefits) the seven unfilled custodian positions come to under $500,000 (presumably this was budgeted). So what explains the $2 million overspending so far?
The conventional wisdom (which needs to be re-examined) is that the school board supervises only one employee — the superintendent. Given the scope of this budget deviation, the board needs to reach out with Superintendent Earl Kim to determine the root causes for these excessive outlays. It is imperative that they understand how the problem of overspending can be addressed in the upcoming fiscal year.
Moreover, assuming that added funds will be requested, I expect that the city boards — finance and representatives — will insist on that analysis and, if need be, a revised budget should then be submitted. This is consistent with cross-party skepticism in various areas of recently proposed city expenditures.
To the board, please don’t simply accept the easy rationale of aging facilities. If, in fact, that proves to be the cause after detailed analysis, why didn’t Kim propose higher spending in next year’s budget (or this year’s budget)? Because $2 million is not trivial, it’s almost 1 percent of the entire school budget. Surely these funds could be better devoted to student education.
The taxpayers of Stamford await a response from the school board and superintendent.