To the editor,
Year in and year out, Region 16, using strong financial controls and sound fiscal discipline, has successfully managed to stay within its approved budgets and end the school year with a surplus. (“Region 16 closes out 2019-20 budget with $661K surplus,” Citizen’s News, Jan. 28, 2021.) Connecticut state statutes provide the regional school districts several options as to what to do with their unspent allocations. They may return all of it proportionately to the towns they serve, keep a percentage of it and return the remainder to the towns, or use all of it to reduce the amount they’ll need to ask the towns to collect as school taxes for the following year.
In prior years I’ve submitted articles which highlighted where Prospect typically spends unused taxpayer dollars that were intended for education. Regarding the $650,000-plus surplus reported this year by Region 16, I’ll reiterate that it should be used by Region 16 to reduce the amount it’ll need to spend next year, instead of allowing Prospect Mayor Robert Chatfield, with a majority rubber stamp of the Town Council, to spend it elsewhere.
Region 16 board members are also elected officials, and with politics being politics, no one likes to say no the mayor. So it’s little wonder that some BOE members want to give all of that money back to the towns to spend as they see fit. (“Region 16 board debates how to handle surplus,” Citizen’s News, Feb. 18, 2021.) I’ll say again, money collected for Region 16 should be spent by Region 16. The politicians say giving it back to the town will save taxpayer dollars, but reducing the taxes that the town needs to collect next year for Region 16 does exactly the same thing, and it eliminates the middle-man.
Thomas J. Galvin
The writer is a former chairman of the Prospect Town Council.