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School Board Finalizes 2012-2013 Budget

Athletic fees were lowered to $225 at THS and raised to $150 at TMS as part of the adjusted budget.

The school board approved its 2012-2013 budget at the Wednesday night meeting, which included a lowering of pay-to-participate rates at the high school from their current levels.

The school board followed many of the proposed budget adjustments that Superintendent William Guzman presented at the .

However, the following changes were made:

  • Athletic fees were increased from the proposed $175 at THS and $125 at TMS with a $700 family cap to $225 and $150 with the $700 family cap to fully fund all athletic levels. The change saved the board approximately $13,000.
  • The retention of a first-grade teacher at l, in order to keep small class sizes at the lower elementary level. The position was . The school board decided not to reinstate a third-grade teacher at . Each teaching position has a salary/benefits expense of $70,324.
  • The allocation of $50,000 towards technology investment.
  • The reinstatement of $31,199 to fund various maintenance projects, including the repair of crumbling sidewalks and stairs on school property, which were originally cut back in February. School district officials will determine which of the items, described as numbers 7-20 , will be completed.

Powell said that the pay-to-participate rates reflect a funding level that he believes the school district will be able to maintain.

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"Pay-to-play is an ongoing process," he said. "We've made a movement in the right direction. I believe that the fee structure is sustainable over two years."

In addition, the athletic director position is now full-time, without any increase in salary. As recommended at the last meeting, a previously part-time physical education teacher position was increased to take over the classes that the athletic director will no longer have time to teach.

The board also learned that money had had to be spent on substitute teachers throughout the year as the part-time director traveled to carry out necessary duties to run the program. Guzman also presented a list showing that of all of the 30 school districts in the CCC, Tolland was the only district with both a part-time director without an administrative assistant. Four of the other districts also had part-time directors, with assistance.

Guzman noted that an additional $110,000, approximately, had been added to the surplus since the last meeting. He explained that district staff had been working to free up the funds, which were still encumbered as part of purchase orders.

For example, he explained that if the district had a purchase order budgeted for $1,000 in a certain supply, but the cost only came to $700, the remaining $300 would still be listed under the purchase order. He said it is a part of the normal process of closing accounts as the end of the fiscal year draws to a close on June 30.

Powell acknowledged that not everyone will be pleased with the finalized budget.

"We're not going to be able to do everything for everyone," he said.

"Resources are limited," Guzman added. "And the demands on resources come from a variety of different places."

Emily June 28, 2012 at 11:20 AM
Has anyone walked through TMS lately? That place is disgusting. missing cieling tiles, broken floor tiles, paint peeling. The place is as dingy as the holding tank at hartford jail and you people are argueing about pay to play. The least the town should do is paint the walls for goodness sake. The only reason my child goes there is because it is the only game in town.
Miss Mary Mack June 28, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Lowered and yet STILL the highest in the state. This town is pathetic in wanting to think it's uppity like Greenwich and Stamford but yet can't compete.
Tammy June 28, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Emily, I don't think it's a matter of one OR the other. Yes, they should be doing maintenance on the schools but whether or not they are doing it is not at the expense or gain of charging excessive fees for sports. Having sports at the middle school and high school level is an important part of not only the total educational package (for the kids who participate and those who support their school teams) but it's also something that colleges look for. Not to mention the life skills learned on the field of play. No one is diminishing the need for school maintenance. No one is saying this should be done in SPITE of the other options. So yes, "US PEOPLE" are arguing for a more fiscally responsible way to maintain much needed sports for ALL the kids who would like to participate. It's not a game of pointing fingers or one upping anyone. It's always sad when a discussion turns into an Us against Them mentality.
Disgusted June 28, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Tammy- Well stated !
Emily June 28, 2012 at 06:44 PM
How can you even consider sports when sending children to a dilapidated, rundown school. It is a total embaressment and I feel it is impossible to give the quality of education the children deserve. I want to see straight A's on my childs college entrance exams before I mention intramural soccer. Sorry, I am not trying to split the parents but you must set realistic priorities and play time comes after study time.
Tammy June 28, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Considering sports are a "fully funded by the fees" program how are they playing any role in the dilapidated school? They're not. If you child is capable of straight A's on entrance exams that is wonderful for your child. Cudos to them, that's hard to obtain & maintain through the entire 4 years of high school but not all children have those capabilities regardless of how much time is spent studying. Some kids rely on these sports for opportunities to go to college, to stay healthy or because they enjoy the game. Many are scholar athletes who maintain honor roll grades AND play sports. It's not fair to point fingers at parents whose children participate in sports because they would like to have the option to do so at a reasonable rate. Keep in mind, my child or anyone else's child playing sports is not hurting your child who may not want to in any way. Your child who would rather study is no better or worse than the child who plays sports & studys. Yes, the repairs should be done. But admonishing the parents who have fought diligently to keep pay to play at a reasonable level (which is still questionable since we pay the highest in the State and I'd argue probably the highest in the country) is not the right way to make your argument. By using words like "you people" and "how can you even consider sports when sending a child to-" is saying your argument is the only right one and you're basically judging other parents and is just not very nice. Sports are not the enemy
D June 28, 2012 at 08:55 PM
1) You say sports are "fully funded by the fees". So no tax dollars are paying for any part of sports (equipment, uniforms, refs, transportation, coaches, athletic director, facility/field upkeep)? The BOE just added $130,000 to the budget for sports and that’s in addition to what was already in the budget for sports and the athletic director. Please explain how fees are "fully funding" all costs. There's still no clear accounting on the BOE page of what comes in and what goes out for athletics. 2) Addressing the pay to play fees was supposed to help make sure every student could afford to play sports (a value I totally support). This plan doesn't do that. If a family couldn't afford $275 this year, is $225/sport really going to make it affordable? The families that really benefit are the ones we keep hearing about with 3 students playing 3 sports each. They will only pay $78 per sport because of the $700 cap, no matter what their income! The limited income family with 2 students each playing 1 sport will have to pay $225/sport. How is that right? Who decided the family cap? That's money ($27,00 according to the report, and even more now with the higher rates) that could have been spent reducing the fees further for all students and/or setting up an assistance fund for those truly in need.
Tammy June 28, 2012 at 09:20 PM
1)According to the board the sports are fully funded from what I understood. The amount of the fees is supposed to pay for the sport, so even if there in a line item for $130,000 I would assume that is being paid for by the fees. Yes, I agree, this is far from transparent and I personally know many people have asked to see the breakdown to validate the board saying sports are fully funded for many reasons. I'm just writing what I've heard there. 2)I totally agree. I had 2 kids playing high school sports last year and could barely afford it, had to pay in "installments". I personally think it should have stayed at the $125 per sport but the board obviously didn't agree. Also the definition of those "truly in need" needs to be reviewed, but that's just my opinion. 3) I'm not trying to start a riot here, I'm simply stating that it's not a sports against non sports. To say we should not have sports or we are getting sports at the detriment of the quality of education is not a valid argument, but please, feel free to disagree with me. I'm okay with that, I'm not an all or nothing kind of gal. :)
Robert Pagoni June 29, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Triple M: Share your wisdom and insight and how you would fix it? How would you get the P2P down (Personally I don't think there should be any charge to be in sports or clubs-BUT THAT ISN'T INLINE WITH REALITY) and still meet all the other obligations of the school system? Saying you are going to cut pay and benefits isn't inline with reality either. Saying you don't get what the school staff gets, so they shouldn't get it, isn't reality. Here is your chance in public to provide some real concrete ideas to help this town out. A school system with a great reputation helps this town in better opportunities for the students and receiving asking prices for houses. You have the floor, what have you got? BTW I ask these questions with my name right out in the open, not using a "nom de plum."
C. Alexander June 30, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Robert.... you won't get any intelligent response from Mary Mack....she just wants to complain anonymously.
D June 30, 2012 at 01:09 AM
Robert-could you respond to Tammy below? She's under the impression that the board said all sports are fully funded by fees and nothing comes out of the budget. I don't think that's the case for next year and, while I agree with her it shouldn't be sports vs non-sports, understanding how sports are funded might help her understand Emily's comments. Thanks.
Robert Pagoni June 30, 2012 at 03:11 AM
Tammy the tax payers do fund a portion of the the athletic program. It isn't totally funded by pay to participate fees. I urge anyone who has ideas where to save money to send them to the BOE. I expect over the next year between the Strategic Planning process and the excellent working relations between the Town Council and the Board, we will be able to get even more bang for the buck for our students and our taxpayers. Civil exchanges like this on the Patch are a positive step in the right direction. We need to pull together to succeed together as a town that we can be proud of and that people want to move to. Most importantly we need to allow everyone a chance to be heard and jointly solve all of our problems. Thanks, BP
Miranda June 30, 2012 at 10:42 AM
BOE - Here are some areas that I think you could improve on spending of money. 1. Reduce the number of curriculum coordinators. These are highly paid positions as they are administrator roles. Combine their roles - A sci/math/tech coordinatar, literacy, and social studies/language coordinator or something along those lines. 2. I'm shocked at how many paras we have in the district. In comparable towns we have lots more, but less sped teachers, and sped support staff, speech, pt, ot etc., I would like to see a sharing of paras vs one whole day w/a teacher and more certified teachers. 3. I would like you to turn not to the town but directly to the teachers and administrators and ask them via anononymous survey where they believe money needs to be funding the schools in a priority list and where they think money can be cut. I'd like to hear their opinions and thoughts on our schools. They truly are the ones in the trenches and are our best resources. 4. Seriously consider any long term ways to save money when there is a surplus so we have money to take on big projects and there isn't a quick spend or lose it philosophy at the end of the year. Thanks for everything you do BOE!
Robert Pagoni July 01, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Hey Miranda, Constructive engagement is always welcomed by the BOE and the school system. The BOE members have reviewed the idea of cutting curriculum coordinators. This has happened more than once. Each time it has come up we have rejected the idea. I believe the general feeling has been they are worth every penny. We have thoroughly reviewed this issue and believe they are necessary. One person can do only so much. Due to all the changes in laws, statutes and No Child Left Behind, and the rigors of each area, we have felt that a reduction in curriculum coordinators would have a deleterious effect on the school system. On number two, more certified teachers equates to more money. Each and every one of our Paras is there for a reason. This is not a job fair town despite what some people think. Every one of the Para positions is defendable. Your 3rd point is right on. The BOE is looking into a climate survey and this would be a good place to insert questions regarding number 3. I like your number 4 also. I will ask that each of these be reviewed by the Board Chair and the Superintendent. I ask you to call Mr. Guzman in a few weeks as a follow up. I believe he will be able to clearly support what I have written above. Please never hesitate to contact any or all BOE members and the Superintendent with your thoughts and suggestions. Thanks, Bob Pagoni

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