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Superintendent Presents Snapshot of 1 Percent School Budget Increase

The list of proposed cuts, made available to residents before the budget public hearing this Wednesday, reinstated a part-time music teacher at TIS.

Superintendent William Guzman and the school board discussed the nuts and bolts of a proposed 1 percent school budget increase with residents at a special meeting Monday night.

The proposed cuts, which would slash $867,380 from the school board approved 3.43 percent increase, also reinstated a part-time music teacher position at Tolland Intermediate School, as requested by the school board. The position costs $28,594, according to documents presented at the meeting.

Guzman put together the list after Town Manager Steven Werbner recommended a 1 percent school budget increase when he presented his $51.8 million proposed town budget.

The 1 percent budget worksheet was compiled for residents before Wednesday's public hearing on the budget. School board chairperson Andy Powell said that the cuts would be posted on the school district website shortly.

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Powell and several other board members expressed frustration that 1 percent was the baseline for the budget, citing erosion in the quality of the services offered in Tolland schools.

"Our government has failed our community in bringing in economic opportunities," Powell said, expressing a wish for more business in town to shoulder the burden of local education tax dollars with property owners.

Several residents at Monday's meeting said they were concerned that the computer education teacher at THS is still slated to be cut in the 2013-2014 budget. That position and almost nine others were originally removed in the superintendent's first 2013-2014 budget proposal. The list is available in Tolland Patch's coverage of the proposal. 

The additional cuts to bring the proposed budget down to $36,059,250 (the 1 percent increase) included:

  • $92,091 in utilities, based off of emerging price trends
  • $76,988 in reduced health insurance costs 
  • $121,235 in substitute teacher funds, based off a three-year average history
  • $12,500 in maintenance overtime, a 50 percent cut
  • $140,000 in GASB payments (retirement payments) coming from an anticipated surplus in this year's utility account
  • $11,691 to not install budgeted Smart Boards at TIS

Jim G. March 26, 2013 at 01:31 PM
Unless I've misread the documents, the TIS music position was still cut 33% - it was a 0.6 position and is now listed as a 0.4 one. Below a certain point, these partial positions become less effective as the inevitable overhead eats up instruction time.
Margaret March 27, 2013 at 01:23 PM
I am stunned that an English teacher position is being considered for elimination. Our children need additional English instruction and smaller class sizes, not less. Reading and Writing are core areas of study that require a greater emphasis rather than a reduced focus. This action is not in the best interest of our children's academic and employment future.

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