School board hires consultant on spending
A consulting firm was hired by the Board of Education Monday night to try to ensure that school budget dollars are being spent efficiently.
The vote to retain the services of the National Executive Service Corps of Southwest Connecticut, a not-for-profit organization that helps other not-for-profit entities, was unanimous.
NESC, a group of former senior business executives who volunteer their time, will be paid $20,000 for their efforts.
Prior to putting together a proposal, Deborah B. Brennan, the group's Connecticut regional director, told board members they will "first get familiar" with the school district's budget. They will also be conducting interviews with board and PTA members; principals and administrative staff.
"Then we will get a consolidated list" that will include cost savings and other items, she said, adding this will include recommendations that will be "implementable in 2015."
"The target timeline is to identify approximately three short-term opportunities by December, and approximately three long-term opportunities by February," board Chairwoman Elaine Whitney said Tuesday.
" If approved by the board, the short-term opportunities could potentially be included in the budget for 2015-16," she added.
Wanting to have a "full board's role" in the matter, Whitney on Monday night appointed two board members -- Karen Kleine and Brett Aronow -- as co-chairs of a new steering committee that will "oversee and guide the study and make recommendations to the full board."
She also appointed three school administrators to the adhoc committee: Superintendent of Schools Elliot Landon; Elio Longo, director of school business operations, and Marge Cion, director of human resources.
Kleine and Aronow have already met with NESC representatives.
Brennan and two NESC members attended the board's September meeting and said her group works in teams and that their results are "actionable."
At that time, Whitney said the school board's priorities are to look for ways to find savings in the school budget and to use school funds more efficiently.
When it came time to finalize the deal, the question of who would sign the contract was raised.
"Since I'm going to be writing the check (for payment), I'll sign the contract," Landon said.