Schools chief un­veils $44.6M bud­get

Brook­field plan would pay for 4 new teach­ers

The News-Times - - FRONT PAGE - By Ju­lia Perkins

BROOK­FIELD — Su­per­in­ten­dent John Bar­ile has pro­posed a nearly

$44.6 mil­lion bud­get for the next fis­cal year, a 4.4 per­cent in­crease from this year’s spend­ing plan.

The pro­posal in­cludes four new full­time teach­ers in speech, pre-kinder­garten, spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion and Amer­i­can Sign Lan­guage. The teach­ers would cost nearly $85,500 each.

This year’s bud­get is $42.7 mil­lion, a

4.1 per­cent in­crease from the pre­vi­ous year.

If the dis­trict did not in­vest in any­thing new, the bud­get would still need to in­crease by 3 per­cent be­cause of con­trac­tual salary and ben­e­fit in­creases for em­ploy­ees and the ris­ing cost of sup­plies and ser­vices.

Bar­ile rec­om­mended more than $592,000 in in­vest­ments to hire the new teach­ers, en­hance the sci­ence, math and read­ing pro­grams, and make improvements.

The money for new sci­ence mod­ules and the speech, pre-kinder­garten and spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion teach­ers is im­me­di­ately needed, he said. But other pro­pos­als, such as the sign lan­guage teacher, are im­por­tant, he added.

“If we’re go­ing to be Brook­field and we’re go­ing to be unique and we want to of­fer tremen­dous ex­pe­ri­ences for our kids, these are things we need to do,” Bar­ile said, dur­ing a school board meet­ing Wed­nes­day night.

Board mem­bers will dis­cuss the bud­get in more de­tail be­fore they send their pro­posal to the first select­man by the end of Jan­uary. The first select­man, Board of Select­men and Board of Fi­nance will rec­om­mend their ver­sions. Res­i­dents will vote on the school and town bud­gets in May.

Board mem­ber Eve Stur­de­vant said she wishes the dis­trict would in­vest more in so­cial stud­ies.

“Our stu­dents are do­ing poorly in so­cial stud­ies and it’s one of our core sub­jects,” she said. “I’m dis­ap­pointed not to see any­thing about that class.”

Deb­bie Farias, the dis­trict’s cur­ricu­lum spe­cial­ist, said the staff is im­prov­ing its so­cial stud­ies cur­ricu­lum, but does not need to pur­chase a tool to do so.

“We cer­tainly do want to do more with so­cial stud­ies, but we re­ally have to pick our pri­or­i­ties,” she said. “We can’t bite off more than we can chew.”

Board mem­bers ques­tioned whether the dis­trict needs more teach­ers for English-lan­guage learn­ers, a grow­ing pop­u­la­tion in the schools.

The dis­trict has one ELL teacher for K-12, in ad­di­tion to ELL tu­tors at each of the schools.

“We’re hav­ing tremen­dous suc­cess with the model we have now,” Bar­ile said.

He pro­posed adding a strength and con­di­tion­ing coach and a busi­ness team leader at the high school.

Two para-ed­u­ca­tors, cost­ing nearly $98,000 to­tal, are part of the pro­posal.

Last year, Bar­ile had ini­tially rec­om­mended a 6.4 per­cent in­crease, driven mainly by ris­ing spe­cial ed­u­ca­tion costs. The school, select­men and fi­nance boards — and even­tu­ally vot­ers — slashed down that plan.

As part of those cuts, the dis­trict held off on open­ing a mo­bile world lan­guage lab at Whis­conier Mid­dle School and hir­ing a con­sul­tant to ex­plore the fea­si­bil­ity of chang­ing school start times.

But both of these ini­tia­tives are back in next year’s pro­posal. The con­sul­tant would cost $30,000, while the lab would cost $51,400.

The lab would be sim­i­lar to the one at the high school and would in­clude tech­nol­ogy to bet­ter help stu­dents learn an­other lan­guage.

Some line items could de­crease next year, in­clud­ing the money for pro­fes­sional and cur­ricu­lum de­vel­op­ment.

Bar­ile added he en­vi­sions cre­at­ing two new po­si­tions in the fu­ture. One would be a cur­ricu­lum spe­cial­ist for the vis­ual and per­form­ing arts, while the other would be a di­rec­tor of com­mu­nity part­ner­ships and civic en­gage­ment.

These po­si­tions are not part of next year’s pro­posal, but would bol­ster the schools’ art pro­grams and help stu­dents earn in­tern­ships, among other ben­e­fits, Bar­ile said.


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.