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Updated: School Board Approves Director of Educational Technology Position

The board also approved the proposed plan to install artificial turf and lights at the THS athletic field.

Editor's Note: According to Tolland School District Business Manager Jane Neel, the estimated full-year salary of the Director of Educational Technology position is $58,733, without benefits. The number quoted in the original story covered salary and benefits for an employee hired in February. 

Superintendent William Guzman said that the new hire would be required to have a Master's degree and would also earn a stipend for working days beyond the traditional school year.

Original Story:

The school board gave the Tolland school district the go ahead to fill a Director of Educational Technology position at its Wednesday meeting.

The full-time job, which is listed as a position under the teachers' contract and would be paid from the teacher salary account, would provide educational support information for several key initiatives.

According to board chairperson Andy Powell, the director would install and help staff use technology applications to fulfill three new unfunded mandates from the state: testing for the common core curriculum, a more intensive teacher evaluation system and a requirement to create student success plans for each student in sixth grade and above.

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"We can't fulfill these requirements the way that we're set up right now," Powell said of the necessity of the position. 

According to the agenda, to meet with each of Tolland's 1,068 middle and high school students and their parents at least once to execute the student success plans would take an administrator 3,216 hours. A full-time teacher works 1,356 hours a year, according to the agenda.

Vice-chairperson Robert Pagoni said that it is not possible to hand off the tasks to administrators or existing technology staff, since they do not have both the technical knowledge or the time to fulfill the mandates.

"We lack the expertise on property to put this together. And anybody we have on staff right now does not have the time to take on this task," he said.

The school district also employs Director of Technology Adam Sher, Network and Telecom Administrator John Stake and District Technology Specialist Chris White. Powell said that these positions deal with the infrastructure of the district's technology (servers, databases, networks) while the new director would deal with applications and would also teach staff how to use the technology to fulfill the mandates and also as part of classroom curriculum. 

Fellow board member Frank Tantillo said that while he agreed with the necessity of the position, he cautioned the board to keep budget constraints in mind.

"I want us to be very cognizant of the spending. Everything is a necessity, everything is critical, everything is needed," he said of the district's expenses.

The position is expected to cost $46,322 in salary and benefits, according to the agenda. The funds to pay this will be transferred from the Building Operations account, which presently has a surplus of $51,918 because:

  • Lower salaries for two custodial employees who filled vacated positions 
  • A portion of an absent custodian's salary is being paid by worker's compensation, due to injury.

Artificial Turf and Lights at THS

The school board also gave its stamp of approval to the proposed installation of artificial turf and lights at the Tolland High School athletic field. The board amended the resolution to pend final approval until grant and bond money from the state was guaranteed to the town.

Board member Tom Frattaroli, Athletic Director Patrick Cox and Maintenance Manager John Carroll will serve on the project building committee for the district.

Resurfacing the TMS Track

The school board agreed to enter into a contract with Pro Track & Tennis, Inc. to resurface the middle school track. The project will cost $94,143, according to the agenda.

McW November 29, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Gotta love the way we spend money.
Long time resident November 29, 2012 at 03:37 PM
State is going over the fiscal cliff, but we'll do it in style with our grant for artificial turf! Nancy Wyman is making sure she doesn't lose in Tolland again.
LJ November 29, 2012 at 07:20 PM
I'm floored...
Miss Mary Mack December 04, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Amazing how this town continues to waste money!!! Artificial turf when there's not enough books for each individual student. Let's live beyond our means just like the governor does!!
Tammy December 04, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Actually, if used correctly the artificial turf will be a revenue generator. Berlin and other towns who have them rent them out by the hour for a little over $100 a hour to other sports teams, etc. It should generate enough revenue, if done correctly, to pretty much offset the costs.
q December 04, 2012 at 06:15 PM
We were originally told that the turf/lighting project would be paid for through fundraising by private individuals/ private sports groups and was being proposed as a revenue source to reduce pay to play fees. Now it's being funded by town bonding and state grants (=taxpayers). Given the fiscal problems of the state, I applaud the BOE for withholding final approval until all funding is actually guaranteed. But, there's still a big issue. Tammy says the revenue should "pretty much offset the costs". That doesn't sound promising for reducing ptp fees or preventing future BOE funds from being needed to pay increased lighting and maintenance costs.
q December 04, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Love the editor's note added to this story. This new Director position will not cost us $46,322 as originally indicated, but $58,733 + benefits + extra stipend for working beyond the school year. Which we know will be necessary. And now next year's budget will have to be increased to keep this non-teaching position. They've also added 2 more sports teams this year when they didn't even have enough in the budget to pay for the teams we already have. Things to keep in mind this next budget year.
Long time resident December 04, 2012 at 10:33 PM
Also, remember revenue takes time and effort to generate. Are we going to market use of this field? If so, whose job will it be and how will the efforts in this regard be evaluated? If it doesn't generate revenue of a certain level, who will be held accountable? I have seen the ability to "generate revenue" used to justify other expensive projects and it is conveniently forgotten after the improvement is in place. Revenue doesn't generate itself.

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