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Budget message fiscal 2020

To: Parents and Guardians of The Gilbert School 

The Gilbert School's approved budget is fiscally responsible and affordable. The tuition for Winchester went down by $121,630 in 2016/2017, down another $388,561 in 2017/2018, flat in 2018/2019, and up $657,874 for 2019/2020. This is a net increase of $147,683 over four years and is totally attributable to our temporary reduction in our international student enrollment. 

The budget has also seen reductions due to the contract we signed with the Receivers from the State Department of Education acting as the Winchester Board of Education. The recommended budget for Fiscal Year 201 7 was projected to be $8,250,605 and decreased to $7,371,782, down $878,823 for Fiscal year 2019 ( our current year). Our recommended budget for Fiscal Year 2020 is $7,818,609, up $446,827. 

The drop in budget this current year (fiscal year 2019) was due to the contracted tuition of $6,475,000 with the Winchester Board of Education and a drop in our international student enrollment. The fiscal losses in the budget and tuition are greater when one considers the $216,724 that the receivers did not pay in charged tuition starting in fiscal year 2016 and 2017. 

The losses in personnel over the two-year contract have included an administrator, six teachers, several support staff positions including a paraprofessional, a nurse, a secretary and our community liaison. We have reorganized administration and reassigned staff to assure that we can answer the needs of our students, your children who are our primary concern and priority. We have lost a number of courses during this same time frame. All of these losses in personnel and courses are taking place as we try to answer the State of Connecticut mandate to have every student graduate with twenty-five credits in a very defined manner in 2023. 

The recommended budget for fiscal year 2020 is a direct result of the course schedule needed to offer the diverse slate of classes to meet state credit minimums while enabling our students to prepare for futures in the arts, business, industry, college, military and the world of work. We must also be responsive to an increasing need for extra support for our students to overcome academic, social, language, and economic challenges. These needs determine our staffing which defines 80% of our budget and the materials, supplies, equipment, contracted services and facilities they use which represents the other 20% of our recommended budget. Our biggest concern is to assure that our students have what they need to graduate with all required courses and credits and the recommended budget and tuition answers our given mission. 

At no cost to Winchester, investments are being made to attract more residency students from other countries around the world. This has proven to be an effective strategy to reduce Winchester tuition and compensate the declining Winchester student enrollments. The W. L. Gilbert Trust Corporation had been able to contribute fourteen percent of the budget recommended in fiscal year 2017 as a sending school district. Our budget increases between fiscal year 2014 and 2017 were due to tuition paid by the W. L. Gilbert Trust Corporation for their residency students. Those budget gains have been lost along with personnel hired due to the past two-year contract signed with the Receiver acting as the Winchester Board of Education. 

We must regain our sense of balance and not take further losses in our mission to educate the secondary age students of Winchester. The future of our children is dependent on education. Let us join in assuring their success and secure the funds needed for education. 

Sincerely Anthony Serio

Anthony Serio, Ed.D. 
Head of School/Superintendent