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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Milford board backs schools chief’s budget

By Brian McCready
Milford Bureau Chief
— Despite a contentious debate, the Board of Education voted 6-2 Tuesday night to keep Superintendent of Schools Harvey B. Polansky’s $82.9 million 2008-09 budget proposal.
The budget represents a $4.97 million or 6.39 percent increase over the current $78 million spending plan. It will be forwarded to the Board of Finance and then the Board of Aldermen for final approval.
The school board, led by Tracy Casey, D-2, agreed unanimously to cut the $18,000 membership fee the district paid to the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education. Casey successfully lobbied to reallocate the funds to improve sports equipment.
A week ago, several sports enthusiasts spoke about health and safety concerns due to antiquated equipment.
Prior to Casey’s amendment, fireworks erupted at the Parsons Government Center meeting between board members James Santa Barbara, D-5, and Pamela Staneski, R-5. Santa Barbara sought to reduce the school budget by $492,659. He offered several ways to cut costs, including eliminating a proposed $146,659 for staffers to offer an after-school program at the new Academy on Gulf Street. The Academy will be home to the alternative education programs.
Santa Barbara also said $240,000 could be saved by taking six teachers who work at Parsons Center and putting them back into classrooms. The six are three computer teachers, a professional development teacher and two special-education teachers.
Santa Barbara also sought to cut adding additional funds into the career-to-school program, and sought the removal of $81,000 in non-mandated testing. "Our children are being tested to death," Santa Barbara said.
But Staneski countered if the six teaching positions were sent back to the schools, some of those individuals could lose their jobs. She said the district can’t afford to make cuts in its professional development or special education services.
At one point, Chairman David Hourigan, D-4, ruled Staneski out of order, and she ended her remarks by saying the proposed reductions amounted to a "witch hunt."
Staneski said she could not support the budget because it includes funds for the Trumbull Agriscience program, which costs $42,000 to send several students to the program.
Prior to the vote, Polansky said his aim was to not "dismantle" the district. Assistant Superintendent of Schools Michael Cummings said the budget cuts the past two years have forced the district to spend less on students, while the standards have increased.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations to the Board of Finance - The $2+M cut is necessary and required.
The Supt. and Board of Ed believe by throwing money at the system their problems will be solved.
The Supt must gain control of the schools, admin. and teachers. They must all do their jobs - and Parents need to Parent.
Our School system is a joke - Dulin, Firn, sex in the bathrooms, male teachers with ponytails, pepper spray, substitute teachers dating students and absenteeism - If the system was under control, and the teachers and admin. had control of students and the schools - maybe they would not need all this money.
Shame on all of you

March 13, 2008 at 2:40 PM 

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