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Hartford Considers Pension Fund Delays, Employee Concessions To Trim Schools Budget

Steven Goode

April 26, 2010

The school board's finance committee Monday recommended that Superintendent of Schools Steven Adamowski offset an expected $2.5 million revenue shortfall by seeking employee concessions and deferring payments to the Municipal Employees Retirement Fund if necessary.

Adamowski said the savings could be achieved by not making up the first two snow days of the school year, essentially furloughing district employees for those days. Hartford students attend school 182 days a year, which is two more than the number of school days mandated by the state.

"That would be my preferred course of action," school board Chairwoman Ada Miranda said.

Adamowski told the committee that the revenue shortfall could also easily be made up by deferring the contribution to the pension fund. As long as current retirees were being properly compensated, the school board was not "breaking the law," Adamowski said he believed.

But Mayor Eddie A. Perez, who is also a member of the finance committee, expressed concern over the legality of the move and recommended that Adamowski pursue the furlough days option first.

"We shouldn't take that off the table. We might need it," Perez said.

The adjustment to Adamowski's proposed budget was necessary because Perez reduced the district's $5 million request for increased funding from the city next year by half in his proposed budget that went to the city council for consideration last week. The city council could reduce the proposed increase in school spending further to offset Perez's proposed 5 percent tax increase.

In March, faced with a $15 million revenue shortfall, Adamowski cut $10 million from next year's budget through a series of moves, including layoffs and transportation cuts.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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