News & Commentary

  • Original ReportsPhoto of How the School Department Turned Temporary Stimulus into a Permanent Surplus

    How the School Department Turned Temporary Stimulus into a Permanent Surplus

    Being busy in spring 2011, I didn’t pay much attention when the Tiverton schools’ business administrator explained that the state was requiring the district to “restate” $740,000 in state aid.  He meant that the state had been giving the money as “restricted” aid but, going forward, would call it regular aid.  It was supposed to be just a matter of accounting.  Numbers on paper. Now that I’m on the Budget Committee, looking at a big tax increase to cover a major bond for school repairs, I’ve taken a closer look at the town’s audits, and I find the schools’ presentation of this “restatement” to be misleading. Indeed, the shuffling of numbers back then was behind the annual surpluses the district has enjoyed ever since, leaving it sitting on a $3.5 million reserve. The first fact one must know to understand what happened is that the town — local taxpayers — is responsible for the total “appropriation” for the schools in each budget.  If for any reason state aid comes in lower than estimated, we have to make up the difference — except for “restricted” aid. With the recession hitting Rhode Island hard in the 2009 fiscal year (starting July 2008), …

    Read More »
  • Weak Leadership Has Made Tiverton a Mark for Abuse

  • Photo of School Enrollment Down, Budgets and Surpluses Up

    School Enrollment Down, Budgets and Surpluses Up

  • Photo of Taxpayers as an Excuse for Town to Gamble on Stocks

    Taxpayers as an Excuse for Town to Gamble on Stocks

Resources

Back to top button
Close