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Trumbull Supt.'s Budget Now in Ed Board's Hands

The third hearing took place Dec. 11.

Schools Supt. Ralph Iassogna lowered his budget request to 4.5 percent after eliminating $225,000.

The reductions came from a clerical error, a retirement and not filling an open position, Iassogna said Dec. 11, at the third and final education budget workshop. The Board of Education is now tasked with dissecting the budget, most of which consists of salaries and benefits.

But it will grapple with issues including paying for all-day kindergarten in 2013-2014 and implementing the technology plan, such as installing Wifi in the schools and updating all of the district's computers and networks.

The plan, called "Project Catapult," gets its name from the need to get the district's technology ahead, because it is so far behind right now. An independent assessment of possible efficiencies by the Gibson group, a consultant hired by the town, specifically noted the district's technology is between six and 10 years old.

Not included in the request is installing new turf on Trumbull High School's football field, which could be bonded along with other fields needing turf in town. Technology could also be included in a bonding request, school officials said.

The third and final hearing before the Board of Education saw board members comparing Iassogna's proposal to the 2012-2013 school budget.

The biggest new component is the technology plan, especially since standardized tests will be given on computer in the coming years.

Along with that came requests for more computer paraprofessionals, many of whom were eliminated in past budgets. There was a small increase in staffing in Iassogna's proposal, but several parents said Trumbull High needs more guidance counselors.

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Iassogna compared the student to counselor ratio of THS to several other schools. Trumbull's is 240:1; Masuk (Monroe) 230:1; Fairfield Ludlowe, 185:1; Fairfield Warde, 155:1; Bunnell High School (Stratford), 250:1.

Guidance counselors' jobs have expanded to include processing more college applications, serving students' social and emotional needs and coordinating extended programs, Iassogna said.

The board must next finalize the education proposal by Jan. 2, 2013, and submit it to First Selectman Tim Herbst.

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