Selectmen want answers to school budget increase
Published 6:21 pm, Wednesday, March 23, 2011
With a $21.59 million budget proposal for the Region 12 2011-12 school year, first selectmen in the district's three towns are looking for ways to reduce the 3.87 percent increase.
"Something's got to be done," said Roxbury First Selectman Barbara Henry.
"I'm not going to micro-manage, but a $420,153 increase for Roxbury is unacceptable. There's no way the town can absorb that."
Bridgewater faces a $159,629 increase and Washington faces a $331,677 increase in the proposed spending plan.
Eliminating the Director of Curriculum position and providing vouchers for high school students to attend other schools are just two of the suggestions Roxbury, Bridgewater and Washington selectmen have on the table.
More InformationRegion 12 school budget A Region 12 Board of Education budget workshop is set for March 28 at 7 p.m. at Shepaug Valley High School. The district budget hearing is set for April 4. The referendum date for the 2011-12 budget proposal is May 3.
The 2011-12 budget proposal includes special education and transportation cost increases and capital facilities requests. The current net per pupil expenditure in the district is $19,782.
With the decline in student population, Superintendent of Schools Bruce Storm proposed addressing the problem starting next year.
His solution includes the grouping of multiple grades, with the movement of grade levels between the two smallest elementary schools -- Burnham in Bridgewater and Booth Free in Roxbury.
"If they have to combine some classes, it's got to happen. If some kids have to go over to Roxbury, that's fine," said Bridgewater First Selectman Bill Stuart, who had opposed a schools consolidation proposal taking it all the way to the State Supreme Court to defeat it.
"Somebody's got to give somewhere," Mr. Stuart said.
Mr. Stuart felt too much money was still in the 2011-12 budget proposal.
"I know people are going to talk consolidation again but it's not happening," said Ms. Henry.
"I'm thankful we didn't take out a $30 million bond toward consolidation.
"I'm glad (that instead) we took out the $2.3 million bond toward repairing the three elementary schools," she said.