Winchester BOS vote to approve loan to keep schools open - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Winchester Board of Selectmen vote to approve loan to keep schools open

Posted: Updated:
  • Winchester Board of Selectmen vote to approve loan to keep schools openMore>>

  • Winchester finance director fired amid probe

    Winchester finance director fired amid probe

    Wednesday, January 23 2013 8:40 AM EST2013-01-23 13:40:06 GMT
    The town attorney for Winchester says former town Finance Manager Henry Centrella has been fired amid a criminal investigation of alleged accounting irregularities. Town Attorney Kevin Nelligan told theMore >
    The town attorney for Winchester says former town Finance Manager Henry Centrella has been fired amid a criminal investigation of alleged accounting irregularities.More >
WINCHESTER, CT (WFSB) -

The Winchester Board of Selectmen approved a plan to keep some schools open in town and fix its budget during a meeting Thursday night, but it still has to be voted on by residents.

For months parents and their kids have been worried that some Winchester schools would be forced to shut down this December. The town is running out of money and teetering close to bankruptcy.

"Many people in the community say we are not working fast enough, but we have to be careful," said Winchester Mayor Mary Ann Welcome. "The last thing we need is a knee-jerk reaction and need to look at all potentials."

After months of looking at town audits and other records, state police arrested Henry Centrella, who had been in charge of the town's finances for over 30 years.

Centrella, who remains in jail, was charged with five counts of first-degree larceny after $2 million was found missing.

Bank of America has agreed to loan the town $2.5 million to hold the school system over until April, where the state is expected to give the town an education grant of $4 million.

The state grant will cover the cost of loan from Bank of America and help keep the schools open until the budget is fixed.

Many in town also blame officials saying they were not responsible when they passed a flat budget for several years. There were also millions in outstanding bills that were just recently paid off.  

"The finance director and town manager will work with the bank," said town selectman Candy Perez. "The commitment is not there yet."

One of the issues the opposition had was if the grant falls through. Republicans suggested raising the mill rate, however other town officials said the loan is the fastest finish to the problem because the town could run out of money in November.

Before and during the vote, two Republicans on the board of selectmen walked out because they felt they were unable to express their opinions.

Once the agreement with Bank of America is finalized, the board of selectmen will schedule a town-wide referendum where residents have to approve the decision. If the residents do not approve the loan at the referendum, another option will have to be discussed.

Copyright 2013 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow
Eyewitness News 3
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2014, WFSB; Hartford, CT. (A Meredith Corporation Station) and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.