*Village Meeting Tonight*

village meeting rainbow

Advertisements

BOE Budget Update

Last night the Board of Education held a meeting to discuss the Superintendent’s proposed approach to the budget given the reductions that have been made so far.

The Superintendent’s original proposed 2015-2016 budget represented an overall budget increase of 3.28%, or $2,140,269. The total proposed budget was $67,360,942.

At the Board level a vote was taken to add $500,000 to this number, making the budget presented to the Council $67,860,942.

The Superintendent presented to the Council that he was able to realize savings in certain areas after the Board voted on the budget, so that in fact he would need $635,000 less than he originally requested. This made the first referendum BOE budget $67,225,942.

Since the first referendum the Town Council has reduced $750,000 from the BOE requested budget.

Based on this reduction the Superintendent has proposed reducing the following positions from the general budget:

12 Kindergarten paraprofessionals
1 Sage Park PE teacher
1 Literacy Interventionist
1 Remedial Math Teacher Grades 3-5
1 FTE Reading Teacher Grades K-2
Additional Funds for Security/Residency

However, the Superintendent shared that he would be able to fund the following positions through the Alliance Grant:

1 FTE Reading Teacher Grades K-2
2 FTE Remedial Math Teachers Grades 3-5
2 Preschool paraprofessionals
Additional UConn Literacy Support in the amount of $30,000

The cumulative effect of this is that, of the reduced positions/funding areas, the only actual reductions are the 12 Kindergarten paraprofessionals, the Sage Park PE teacher, the Literacy Interventionist, and the additional funds for security/residency. The PE teacher and Literacy Interventionist are reductions through attrition, meaning no layoffs will occur at this time to accomplish these reductions.

Further, in the current proposal, there is an additional $30,000 of funding added for UConn Literacy Support, and an additional Remedial Math Teacher over what was proposed in the original adopted BOE budget.

The net result of the reductions so far is that we are, essentially, back to the Superintendent’s original proposed budget before $500,000 was added in by the BOE – with the exception of one fewer PE teacher and Literacy Interventionist (through attrition) but now adding a Remedial Math Teacher, 2 additional PreK paraprofessionals and additional UConn Literacy Support. An outline of the Superintendent’s original budget proposal can be found in the earlier post 2015-2016 Budget Highlights.

Thoughts On The Budget – Share Now Through This Survey

WINDSOR Residents: Share your thoughts on the budget through this ANONYMOUS survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XD5JNB6

DISCLAIMER: The bloggers of WindsorRights did not make the survey. We are passing this survey along at the request of a bipartisan group of concerned citizens. This survey does not guarantee that your feedback will be considered for making adjustments to the budget. It is hoped that the results will be considered by elected officials. This is anonymous and therefore will have lower credibility and there will be an increased likelihood that those opposing a truly democratic process will dismiss any findings as lacking merit. If you feel that you would like to ensure that our Windsor Officials know how you feel – you can share your perspective at tomorrow’s Special Meeting on the Budget. Just kidding, the Town Council will not have a section for public comment so this is probably your only chance to let them know where you’d prefer to see cuts.

If you’d like to share your ideas with the members of the Windsor Town Council directly you can email TownCouncil@townofwindsorct.com

Mark Twain and Test Scores

In the most recent back and forth in the debate over this year’s budget, I’ve seen a number of claims about our school district advertised. One such claim is the “fact” that, since the implementation of full day kindergarten three years ago, our reading scores have doubled. This is advertised as a reason to support the proposed pre-k initiative. Apparently the line of thinking goes: if full day kindergarten worked to improve test scores, then pre-k will improve them even more. Setting aside for now some of the basic problems I have with this line of reasoning, the issue of early childhood reading scores (more…)

Setting the Record Straight on Pre-K

As we approach tomorrow’s budget referendum, I want to clarify something I have gotten a number of questions on. Included in this year’s budget proposal is funding to reopen the Roger Wolcott building for the purposes of a preschool program for three and four year olds run by Windsor Public Schools. This program will not be for all of our three and four year olds, as I have seen it advertised. It will be offered to, at most, 60 additional students. We have not had a discussion at the Board level as to how those students will be chosen – whether it will be on a first come, first serve basis, or whether students will be screened in some way based on need.

I do not support the proposed program, and I voted against having the costs to reopen Roger Wolcott included in the Board of Education’s budget presentation to the Town Council. While we will receive state grant dollars to put towards the cost of starting this program, there will still be a large cost to this program that will be borne by the taxpayers, both at start up for capital costs and for long term operation. Perhaps most importantly, the Roger Wolcott building is not large enough to house a preschool program for every preschool aged child in Windsor. That is one of the reasons it was closed when the district went to all day kindergarten – it was not big enough to fit all of our kindergarten students at one time.

If we as town leaders are asking the citizens of Windsor to increase their tax burden to fund a program, we should be clear about what that program is. We will be incurring the cost of reopening a building that needs significant renovations and refurbishment to provide free preschool to, at most, an additional 60 students, without the hope of being able to expand in that location to fit all of our preschool age children. We did not take the time to discuss the true, long term costs of this program, exactly who the program will be serving, or look at options for partnering with existing private or town sponsored prekindergarten providers. Pushing this program forward without discussing all of the options or all of the long term ramifications is not in the best interest of our children, and is not what is best for the town of Windsor.