Trumbull School Board Studying Gibson Savings Proposal

Schools Supt. Ralph Iassogna disagreed with the some of the recommendations, adding that the firm only addressed the school and town budgets in an effort to cut costs.

Schools Supt. Ralph Iassogna and other officials will begin a review of a series of savings recommendations before budget season before budget season begins in December.

The school board starts its budget planning with numerous meetings in December.

"I think we have to move carefully," Iassogna said of the recommendations, released at a tri-board meeting of the Board of Finance, School board and Town Council.

The Police Department, Parks Department and Public Works were excluded from the study, which made numerous cost-saving suggestions, mostly involving merging services.

On Nov. 13, Iassogna told the school board he endorsed:

  • automated timekeeping
  • direct deposit (a program that 900 of 1,100 school employees participate in)
  • overhauling the public school chart of accounts
  • making technology,equipmaent and network infrastructure a priority
  • eliminating duplicate information systems
  • conducting an energy audit
  • outsourcing custodial services
  • increasing school lunch prices and student participation rates
  • restructuring the transportation contract
  • enrolling school staff in the Connecticut Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
  • phasing out employee health insurance waivers

 The superintendent's concerns were:

  • consolidating Accounts Payable and Payroll ("We do not feel that's feasible," Iassogna said.)
  • Audits
  • Combining payroll
  • Incorporating efficiency measurements.

Some current practices criticized in the Gibson report have been praised by others, according to Iassogna.


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Board member Lisa Labella said she was concerned about re-opening contracts, a practice the board's attorney does not encourage.

Board Chair Steve Wright advised the board not to miss opportunities to save money if some suggestions could be implemented sooner rather than later.

He added that after years of discussion, savings proposals are "now off the table and on starting blocks."

First Selectman's Reaction

"This report has demonstrated real efficiencies and savings that can be implemented without adversely impacting student and taxpayer needs,” said First Selectman Herbst.  “Clearly, in the areas of custodial maintenance, transportation and health insurance, we can explore workable solutions to make systems more efficient, thus reducing the burden on Trumbull taxpayers.”

Herbst said, "The most important reason to improve technology in the Trumbull Public School system was to allow the school system to produce students that enter the workforce ready to meet the challenges of the 21st-century and compete in a global economy.

"Trumbull has a very strong school system and there is no reason why our technology should not be on par with other school districts in the region,” Herbst said.  “Governing is about prioritizing and when we determine what priorities make the most sense, I can think of no better investment than those tools that directly impact student learning and achievement.”

Rich November 28, 2012 at 11:46 AM
1) •automated timekeeping ~ this took place 25-years ago and they want it NOW. 2)•direct deposit ~ personal preference - don't push it 3 & 4) •making technology,equipmennt and network infrastructure a priority •eliminating duplicate information systems ~ WHAT'S TAKING SO LONG - ITS 20-YEARS BEHIND THE TIMES 5)•conducting an energy audit ~ DON'T START THE SCHOOL YEAR THE FRIDAY BEFORE LABOR DAY WEEKEND 6)•outsourcing custodial services ~ OUTSOURCE TO WHERE, Bangladesh 7)•increasing school lunch prices and student participation rates ~ School lunches are the most unhealthest foods served so raise the prices - REALLY INTELLIGENT The best practice with school boards would be to cut their pays by 25% and get rid of duplicate positions on the school board.
Vin DiMasi November 28, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Rich makes some dramatic, yet valid points. Historically our school system has always been reluctant to change. Change would mean the taxpayers would get a look behind the curtain, something these folks DO NOT WANT. I suggest this is a terrific reason to implement items like audits and efficiency measurements, items taxpayers had hoped Ralph would embrace long ago, without a fight. This school system is many years behind the times, though not for a lack of money. It does not take a genius or study to complete an energy audit or improve a bus contract, an item I remember we discussed at length over 10 years ago. If the taxpayers truly want accountability, we should compel all departments to participate in any and all recommended cost savings measures asap, minus the stalling and doublespeak.
JR November 28, 2012 at 07:04 PM
CRAC audit in 2009 http://www.trumbull-ct.gov/filestorage/12098/713/Gov_Rell_awards_Trumbull_School_Officials.pdf
Tom Kelly November 28, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Vin is obviously misinformed, but I invite him to come to a Board of Education meeting, particularly as the budget is discussed in December and he will learn plenty and see every single line item in the school system. By the way, the energy-saving system implemented by Mr. Kennedy to conserve computer power saved over $100,000 in electric costs, and the conversion from oil to natural gas has saved literally millions over the past five years. The results speak for themselves if one deals in fact, rather than fiction. Trumbull taxpayers get an incredible value for their investment in education. Trumbull's per pupil spend is 17th of 21 in Fairfield County, and 108th of 169 in CT, and we spend about $1,000 per pupil, per year BELOW the state average, and have outstanding results and one of the lowest achievement gaps in the state. These are all facts.
SoccerMom November 29, 2012 at 12:29 AM
I thought school lunch was supposed to be a break even account but they had a profit last year. Food amounts have been reduced but prices have increased over the last couple of years. We may be cutting school lunch out of our budget.
Dickey Looster November 29, 2012 at 11:24 AM
I personally can not understand why we have not looked into the establishment of a nuclear reactor site to fuel our schools heat consumption. It doesn't need to be near our residential areas. We can put it by the Bridgeport line...such as the Trumbull Gardens area. Just a thought that I have had for years and I think it is time to discuss it at the next town meeting.
Dickey Looster November 29, 2012 at 11:27 AM
As far as the $1000 less per pupil per student that Mr. Kelly speaks of above, I want to be assured at the next meeting that some one in that brick fortress called Town Hall isn't buying scratch offs with that extra slush money.
Rich November 29, 2012 at 11:46 AM
Mr. Kelly is a typical politician and saleman. Dwell on one area of the concerns and cast aside all the other items on the agenda! There is more slush that taxpayers don't see because its all hidden by BOE and other politicians. Yet the educational system in this State and country continues to erode and WHY because guess what, the agenda says NOTHING about improving the education of the STUDENTS, aka, our CHILDREN. It dwells on topics that have been an eyesore in Trumbull since the 70's and it continues today. And don't quote stattistics nor how much is saved here or there or where Trumbull ranks in the state. ITS MEANINGLESS. Deal with education kids not the intangibles like $$$$$ spent on a 40-year old topics.
Jim Sullivan November 29, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Thanks, that is good to know. I hope the BOE continues to support Mr. Kennedy’s efforts to reduce the overhead in education as he will need a budget to increase savings. Relamping, lighting controls, motion sensors, boiler tune-ups, new heat pumps, caulking, weather-stripping, new windows, duct sealing, etc…all cost money.
Dickey Looster November 29, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Larry Sellers November 29, 2012 at 04:15 PM
So we cut peoples jobs? That seems like a great way to save money! Outsourcing is foolish, we cut people and replace them with "cheaper" workers. The custodial dept. is a small percentage of the budget why is that even being considered? The technology that is so outdated isn't necessarily the case in every school/classroom. Some rooms have new "Smart boards" which are basically computerized blackboards. I have to agree with Rich, lets focus on improving their education more and not just saving a buck here and there...
Vin DiMasi November 29, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Actually Tom, Vin is very informed having attended dozens of BOE meetings many years ago, watching our school board bury issues with Ralph's doublespeak assistance. Many points in this report are not new and certainly date back prior to your grandstanding involvement.


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