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Superintendent Asks School Board for 4.95 Percent Budget Increase

The superintendent proposes that nine staff positions be eliminated this year, due to declining student enrollments.

Superintendent William Guzman presented a $37,470,299 school district budget, which is an increase of 4.95 percent from the current fiscal year budget, at the school board's Wednesday meeting.

The difference amounts to $1,768,071, according to the budget packet handed out at the meeting. Guzman said that the budget presentation will be uploaded to the school district website sometime on Thursday.

Due to declining student enrollment projections, nearly 9 positions could be eliminated. In the budget packet, these positions are listed as:

  • Grade 1 Teacher 1.0 Full-Time Employee
  • Grade 2 Teacher 1.0 Full-Time Employee
  • Grade 4 Teacher 1.0 Full-Time Employee
  • Grade 5 Teacher 1.0 Full-Time Employee
  • Music Teacher     0.4 Full-Time Employee
  • Grade 6 Teacher 2.0 Full-Time Employee
  • Computer Education 1.0 Full-Time Employee
  • Technology Education 0.5 Full-Time Employee
  • English Teacher      1.0 Full-Time Employee

According to the budget packet, the proposed position cuts amount to $587,418 in salary and benefits.

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The New England School Development Council (NESDEC) estimates that 2,707 students will be enrolled in Tolland schools next year, a decrease of 130 students. Guzman said that enrollment has been declining at an average of over 100 students a year for the last several years.

"This is probably one of the lowest percentages that I've come to the board with," Guzman said of the 4.95 percent increase. "We understand the economic times, but we also recognize the needs that we have to address. As an educator, I want us to provide the best we can for our students."

Guzman noted that the proposed budget maintains current pay-to-participate fees. He also said that he discussed the possibility of implementing full-day kindergarten in Tolland schools, but ultimately decided against it.

Guzman also estimated that Tolland could receive about $10 million in grants from the state. 

The school board's next scheduled meeting is Jan. 23 at 7:30 p.m.

q January 10, 2013 at 02:30 PM
Jayme - do you know which school(s) would lose the Computer, Tech Ed, Music and English positions? Thanks.
Jayme Kunze January 10, 2013 at 02:33 PM
Sorry, I do not. The budget packet didn't specify schools. But I'll ask!
Disgusted January 10, 2013 at 03:42 PM
Declining enrollment....horrible economy....eliminating teachers...yet Guzman still gets $ 177k a year plus percs !! Thats up 15 % from where he was at the end of 2011 at 154k ! Must be nice !!! Does this anger anyone else ? What personal sacrifices is he willing to make ? Or any of the town officials, for that matter.....Ughhhhhhhhhh.
Steven Johnston January 10, 2013 at 04:05 PM
I will support a budget increase if all administrators give back 10 percent and start paying into the insurance pool at the same level as private sector employees would. In these tough times everyone has to do their part. My part will be to pay more towards actually educating the children and the administrators (principals, superintendents, etc.) should take pay cuts and reduction of benefits. While everyone has had lower pay these people have seen increases.
Tammy January 10, 2013 at 04:15 PM
So if we're losing $600k in teachers what is the $2.4m offset to get us to net of $1.8m increase?
Jayme Kunze January 10, 2013 at 04:23 PM
I can't answer that directly Tammy, but I am posting another story soon about the biggest cost drivers in the school budget, identified by the superintendent in his budget summary message. There will be more info in that article.
Jayme Kunze January 10, 2013 at 04:28 PM
q, I just heard back from the superintendent. The music teacher is at TIS and the other three are at the high school .
q January 10, 2013 at 05:28 PM
Thanks, Jayme. THS only has 1 Computer Ed teacher now - did you hear who/what dept will teach the computer science/computer programming courses next year?
Jayme Kunze January 10, 2013 at 05:50 PM
I didn't hear. But I do know all the school principals will be at the first budget workshop (TBA), and they should be able to answer that question. Mr. Guzman said that the date and time of the workshop should be decided today. I will update you when I have the info!
A Tolland Resident January 10, 2013 at 06:07 PM
I don't see why the town can do more with less like EVERYONE in the private sector. Of course, with the fantastic financial leadership with have coming down from the State level I guess I shouldn't expect anything different.
Steve Clark January 10, 2013 at 06:52 PM
The Superintendent received a 2% increase to his base salary for this school year. There was no increases in any other of his benefits and he will pay more for his health insurance, same as the other administrators. The most accurrate information regarding town officials can be obtained through the town offices and not, necessarily, through outside articles.
Jayme Kunze January 10, 2013 at 07:05 PM
I think the disconnect here is that the Town of Tolland gave me the 154k number for my top-earning town employees article that I published in May 2012, which I now assume did not include the 3 percent + 9.8k outlined in Mr. Guzman's contract. https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/527408-tolland.html The database Tolland Patch linked to with the 177k number cited that contract salary with the annuities included, which makes the increase look larger.
Jim G. January 10, 2013 at 09:15 PM
You're right: I don't see why every complex problem stemming from a half-decade of economic disturbance can't be solved with a single sweeping statement.
A Tolland Resident January 10, 2013 at 10:04 PM
Jim G. I don't know if that was sarcasm or not but, I am serious. Where I work, a local non-profit hospital, was just told that we are not getting over $3M in funds from the state. We have to look at our capital and operating costs to see where we can save enough money to keep treating patients. Our doors don't close, period. The town should see where they can re-purpose some cash instead of just telling the town that they don't have enough money and to give them more. Maybe delay some projects or just don't so some projects. The Tolland tax-payer is not a bottomless resource that the schools can go to when they want to.
q January 10, 2013 at 10:08 PM
To Steve Clark - do you know when the proposed budget will be on the BOE website? Also wondering if the BOE could set up some type of Q&A board. No complaints, insults or even opinions allowed - just factual questions and answers similar to how you and Jayme answered this salary misunderstanding. My 1st question would be - who will be teaching computer science and programming at the high school if the only Computer Ed position (and .5 Tech Ed) is eliminated? I assume there is a restructuring being planned, but as parents we need to know how this could affect our children's course selections. 2nd question - will the elimination of an English teaching position at the high school affect course availability and/or accreditation? Thank you.
Corey Bernier March 27, 2013 at 01:39 PM
Does everyone remember that a successful town is based on having a desirable school for children to attend? Maybe the direct result of our lack of funding to the BOE over then last few years, is the reason enrollment is down. Nobody wants to stay in a town with a ridiculous pay to play. Nobody wants to stay in a town with constant cuts and turmoil. We aren't even talking about arts and music, now we are talking about English and Computer teachers. You can say its a struggle for all towns, but we already spend less then every surrounding town in the area per student. So we need to stop comparing ourselves to those towns, until we get on their level. It's fine we can keep making cuts people will keep leaving. Then we won't need to worry where there money comes from. All the people that keep this town great will have left. And I'm not talking about the adults. I'm talking about the children that tie a community together. I'm talking about the kids that bring life and excitement to a community. I am talking about the reason people buy their first home. To start a family! With out a place for family's to survive and thrive and be given every opportunity to succeed, you have no town you have no community. This is not a BOE problem. This is a town council and town manager problem. Bring in the businesses! Bring in the tax base. You are failing us year after and the wrong people are paying for. Get it together and take some responsibility for it!

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