QUIGLEY: Please Fact Check Before You Submit

Letter to the editor from Dan Quigley, Chair of Greenwich RTC

Thursday, there was an article that appeared in the GFP titled; “Group Letter To The RTM.” It was written by advocates of the Education Committee’s Sense of the Meeting Resolution that the RTM pass an interim appropriation of $2.3million to the Board of Education budget.

The authors of the article have done a disservice to the general public by using incorrect data. I will assume this was an oversight on their part, which is why it’s important to correctly state the facts.

In trying to make a case that Greenwich was the only municipality of its peer group to have zero growth in its YoY Board of Ed budget from FY2019-20 to FY2020-21, the authors did not include healthcare benefit costs as part of Greenwich’s BOE budget. This is important because Greenwich is the only town in Fairfield County that does not include its healthcare benefit costs in its education budget. All of its peer towns do. Hence, the added cost of healthcare benefits must be included in order to have an apples-to-apples comparison.

Once these costs are included, the BOE budget in Greenwich increases from $163,364,193 to $200,357,345. In other words, this represents an 18.5% increase to the overall BOE budget. This also results in an increase in the overall BOE budget YoY. This was not represented correctly to you.

For further proof, here is a quote from the Greenwich Public School Superintendent’s FY2020-21 Proposed Budget document; “The proposed 2020-2021 Operating Budget includes full time salaries which account for
approximately 80% of the expense budget, excluding benefits which are carried under the Town of Greenwich budget.“

Also of note is that while the article correctly states that the town of Fairfield increased it BOE budget by 3.1% for FY2019-20, it omits the fact that Fairfield achieved this by raising taxes 2.58%. Greenwich did not raise taxes on its citizens.

Here is a quote from Fairfield Patch which substantiates this point:
“FAIRFIELD, CT — Fairfield’s first selectwoman presented a budget Monday that she said will lay the foundation for the town to grow economic development, improve services and save residents money in the long run. But to get those things, they’ll have to pay a 2.58 percent tax increase for the coming fiscal year.”

It is the responsibility of those who engage in public debate to make sure that the information they present to the public is accurate. This ensures that we can make an informed decision as to where we stand.

I have great faith in our RTM and its members. They take their responsibility as representatives of the people very seriously. I urge the RTM to stay with the facts as they debate this SOMR to add interim funds to the BOE budget.

1) Greenwich Public School Superintendent’s Proposed Budget 2020-21

2) Patch.com: Fairfield Budget Includes 2.58 Percent Tax Increase