Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Settlement may come out of budget line items
TORRINGTON — A $100,000 settlement payment to former Superintendent Susan O’Brien may come out of budget line items allocated for professional services or wages, an official said Tuesday.
The board voted 7-3 Monday night to approve the settlement, which includes an extension of benefits, withdrawal of a letter sent to O’Brien on Dec. 5, a reinstatment of the mostly positive evaluation from August 2008 as the most recent, a release preventing the board from being sued and withdrawal of a complaint to submit a Freedom of Information request from the Nov. 17 school board meeting.
Frank Rubino, chairman of the Board of Education budget committee, could not comment further as to where specifically the W-2 money would be drawn from, but said the professional services and wages area “probably” could be the source. The professional services line item, allocated for consulting and legal services, currently numbers around $1.1 million, of which 65 percent is used up, Rubino said.
Rubino said he plans to meet with Nancy Haynes, director of business services, soon to discuss from where the district will drawn the funds for the $100,000.
Tonight the board is scheduled to discuss the 2009-10 budget, as well as receive a budget proposal from acting Superintendent Barbara Campbell. The meeting, beginning at 7 p.m. in the Torrington High School media center, precedes the oncoming budget season with a committee hearing scheduled for March 2 and extending throughout the month. Chairman Paul Cavagnero, as well as other board members, are encouraging public participation.
Next year’s budget will not, however, be affected by the settlement for the $100,000, as that money will only be taken from this year’s budget, which ends June 30, Rubino asserted.
“It has to,” he said. “It’s not fair to the public for it to run into another period cycle.”
Rubino, along with Cavagnero and board member David Oliver, were the three votes against the settlement.
The chairman said that the search for a new superintendent will commence as soon as the final settlement papers are signed.
Ronald DeRosa can be reached by e-mail at


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