The Temporary Regional School Study Committee (TRSSC) was required by statue to produce a pro-forma budget of the combined school for the first five years of operation. Because it was estimated by the TRSSC that it will take two years for the passing of a referendum authorizing the formation of Region 20 before the school would be in a position to operate, the five-year budget would start in the school year beginning July 1, 2024 and continue through June 30, 2029.
Suffice it to say that a 5-year projection that doesn’t begin for two years must contain numerous assumptions that might be better called guesswork. That said, the TRSSC Report contains the required 5-year projection and compares the 5-year projection to the current FY 21/22 budgets for each town. The current year and the projections are as follows:
The initial reduction in the overall combined cost for both districts from $36,584,919 in FY 2021/2022 to the Region 20 cost of $33,979,322 is testament to the cost savings achievable by combining the two school districts. These savings arise from the reduction in teaching staff made possible by a more efficient allocation as a result of a larger middle and high school, fewer administrators as a result of consolidation two middle schools and two high schools into one middle school and one high school, transportation efficiencies due to a combination of bus routes, efficiencies in consolidating two athletic departments and in consolidating after school offerings.
Why is Litchfield subsidizing the other three towns?
Answer: It’s not. The initial combined budget for Region 20 is a $2,605,597 reduction when compared to the combined 2021-2022 level, a 7.1% decrease. The reason that the original Region 6 towns achieve more of a reduction than Litchfield is because their initial cost/student is much higher than Litchfield’s--$27,000 vs Litchfield’s $23,779. Also, Litchfield receives significantly higher support from the State of Connecticut in the form of Educational Cost Sharing (ECS).
For the subsidizing charge to be accurate, Litchfield’s cost per student would have to rise, but it declines from $23,779 pre-merger to $23,401 post merger.