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Region 14 Board of Ed Supports Budget at 1.89 Percent Increase [POLL]

The board addressed the oft-spoken of director of curriculum position.

 

The director of curriculum position for Region 14 is still a top priority for Superintendent Jody Goeler.

"I would be irresponsible if I said we did not need a director of curriculum," he told the board and approximately 25 members of the public at a Thursday, May 17, special board meeting at .

He said he and his administrative team are not interested in only helping 80, 90 or 95 percent of the district's children. Morally and professionally, he said the goal is to help 100 percent of Region 14's students.

"I believe in my heart of hearts that the director of curriculum is essential to fulfilling that initiative," he said.

The cost for the director of curriculum position is $153,658. At a , Goeler acknowledged that voters did not seem to support the director of curriculum position in the budget.

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The region's voters rejected the $31,205,513 Region 14 budget at a . That budget featured a 3.17 percent increase, or $959,484, over the 2011-12 budget of $30,246,029.

The board supported the latest budget figure, with the exception of Gary Suslavich.

"While I believe this is a good start, I don't believe it goes far enough," he said, adding that a 1.89-percent increase over the last year's budget, in light of the economic times and lower enrollment, is still too large.

Suslavich said there are areas of the budget that can be reduced without directly impacting students. He gave the example of the snowplowing line item and said it is high compared to past history.

Figure Residents Will Vote on Next

  • $30,817,765: A reduction of $387,748 since the May 8 referendum
  • A 1.89-percent increase, or $571,736, higher than the 2011-12 budget

Referendum Date

  • 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 6, at Memorial Hall in Bethlehem and the

Suslavich said he does not want the board to get into the habit of micromanaging. Rather than discuss the merits of the director of curriculum position over any other budget component, he said the role of the board is to support a dollar amount.

How the administration chooses to spend that money is up to them, a sentiment Woodbury resident Duncan McDougall mentioned during privilege of the floor.

"If you really think the curriculum coordinator is something you need, let him do it," he said of Goeler. "Tell him what the budget is and let him do the job."

If the director of curriculum position makes its way back into the budget, Goeler said the $50,000 potentially earmarked for a consultant and additional professional development support would not be needed.

"A Reasonable Approach"

Board member John Chapman said the newly proposed budget figure represents a reasonable approach the board can support and present to the public as prudent and rational.

Board member Pamela Zmek said she hopes the 1.89 percent increase is viewed as a good compromise by the voters.

"I know I'm going to be disappointing my friends out there in the audience but I feel this is as low as we can go," she said. "If this budget doesn't pass, I feel like our next conversation is going to be a very painful one."

Jaimie Cura (Editor) May 18, 2012 at 01:56 PM
"I think the board has to stop caving in. You can never satisfy by caving in. They may be loud but not the majority." (A tweet from Yota Schneider at https://twitter.com/#!/WoodMiddPatch
EMD_CT May 18, 2012 at 02:34 PM
A director of curriculum position is $153,658... Where does one apply for this? Give me a break on this position. Superintendent "not interested in only helping 80, 90 or 95 percent of the district's children." So we should spend $153,658, plus benefit costs, etc., for such a a nominal gap? How about we figure out a way to be there for all students without adding this position?
EMD_CT May 18, 2012 at 02:36 PM
"If this budget doesn't pass, I feel like our next conversation is going to be a very painful one." Sometimes we have to make painful decisions. Doesn't anybody have the guts to do that?!?
Red54 May 18, 2012 at 03:34 PM
What is this salary based upon??? A Google search shows similar positions in the range of $110,000. Also what size support staff will be asked for?? How come the Teachers can not develope the required curriclum??
WoodburyResident May 18, 2012 at 04:33 PM
We could hire three teachers for 153000. A director of curriculum may be helpful to the superintendent, but it would not directly serve or help the students. In economic times such as these, we need to be focused on the students. The state of CT has recently adopted a new common core of standards for curriculum. Why can't the current administration and department heads lead the teachers to adopt that curriculum? What exactly will this 153000 a year person be able to do that the teachers cannot? Ridiculous. I do not support this budget if the director of curriculum stays in it. Put our students first.
Sean M May 19, 2012 at 01:42 PM
The Board of Education is a problem. They do not understand what is going on in the real world. The private sector cannot continue to absorb tax increases. It should not surprise as the board is filled with teachers, current and former, and spouses of such. Spending will not get under control until the region elects a board that understands it is not government's job to fix every problem. This group, including the superintendent view it as their job to make students achieve (an impossible task). Kids have to want to learn. No program or expenditure can make them. This social worker situation is wrong too. It is not the school system's place to fix every kids at home problems. At some point, parents have to pay for their own issues. I have attended two meetings recently and find the board polite and willing to listen, but not hearing what we are saying.
Sean M May 19, 2012 at 01:44 PM
This is a load of bunk. The teachers have guaranteed paychecks. They have guaranteed raises either in pay or coverage of benefit increases. Once pay and benefits are in line with the private sector that funds them, then they can come and complain.
joe_m May 20, 2012 at 11:46 AM
Teachers salaries are frozen, so any increase is on only 30% of the budget. The Board was elected because they said going back to two kindergarten to 5th grade schools would save money. Seems disingenuous to ask for an increase when they killed the reconfiguration promising savings. Where are the savings? Instead we are back to 2 schools with un-equal education. I say we fire all the administrators for failure to build a cohesive educational environment. They have added nothing to this region but incompetence.
Sean M May 20, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Salaries are only a part of the cost of employees. If the teachers took a freeze on the payment of benefits, then they took an actual freeze. Reconfiguration was done illegally. The board undid what was done. There is a new board as some members lost re-election. This current board has only a few members that were there when reconfiguration was reversed. The problem is the BOE currently is took involved in areas that they should not be involved in.
joe_m May 21, 2012 at 06:43 PM
Teacher's salaries are frozen but they will be contributing more to their benefits. So, they will actual get a pay cut. We'll never know if the reconfiguration was illegal because the current board dropped the lawsuit. As a region, we are supposed to ensure an equal education for all students, the old / current configuration fails miserably at this. The Board and the administration are the problem.
Sean M May 21, 2012 at 09:58 PM
Teachers should pay all increases to benefits including insurance. Reconfiguration should have been voted on in the first place. The BOE made political mistakes in how it handled the issue. There was no excuse to spend legal bills defending reconfiguration in court when they could have just let the people vote on it. I am not sure who the problem is. I can say I am glad I helped Gary Suslavich get elected. He is a principled man of character to stand firm as he does. I think there are a lot of well meaning, misguided people on the BOE. They have this notion that government should be involved in a lot of things that government should not be in. I have only been to two meetings. I cannot see in the hearts and minds of the members. The BOE is using a common tactic in the budget situation. They are making the increases about specific issues: new science teacher, curriculum coordinator. This ignores a major point. This position assumes every current expenditure is a good one. Playing the budget game the way the board does is a trick that is often successful. I hope people do not fall for it.

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