The Board of Education took another step toward establishing the funding for all-day kindergarten as it cut positions and reaped savings totalling $525,000 from its budget.
Specifically, at its meeting Tuesday, the board cut:
- $125,000 from the Curriculum Department;
- $75,000 for a 1.0 Data Specialist;
- $30,000 for a 0.4 Speech Clinician;
- $45,000 for a 0.6 ELL Instructor;
- and $37,500 for a 0.5 Teacher.
The board also found savings of $112,500 in transportation and $100,000 in electricity. The board's total budget is now $91.4 million.
Meanwhile, the district is hiring staff for All-Day Kindergarten and needs to have money transferred into a special townside account to fund the program, estimated to cost $873,000. The town is using is a state law allowing a surplus to be used in the next year's budget by placing it into a seprate account.
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The final vote was 6-0-1, with Board member Loretta Chory abstaining.
"I feel it's a bit much," Chory said. "In this time, to be putting in a 4.47 percent increase is excessive."
Board Chairman Stephen Wright replied that the school board's job is to protect the interests of school children. He added that the Town Council and Board of Finance voted to give the school board that amount of funding.
"We make do with what we get," he said.
He also noted that all children's public education is funded by taxpayer dollars. Taxes paid for his children's educations and his are paying for other children's educations.
"Any reduction will have some impact," said Schools Supt. Ralph Iassogna. "I believe the reductions listed will serve us best." The positions eliminated were added at the end of the budget process, according to the superintendent.
Board member Lisa Labella moved to accept Iassogna's recommendations.
Iassogna said he believed that the Curriculum Department, led by Linda Paslov, will be able to handle a $125,000 cut.
Both Paslov and board Vice Chairwoman Deborah Herbst agreed, saying that the Trumbull's curriculum needed tweaking but not a serious overhaul.
Member Tom Kelly asked if the salary account could be cut instead, but Iassogna said it has been done before and some extra funds should be kept in that account.