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.)
- 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.”