Region 1 to try to pass budget again
The Region 1 schools budget for 2013-14 is still at an impasse.
Kent voters and those in the region's other four towns are preparing to go to the polls Tuesday, Aug. 20, for a fifth time on the budget.
As they do, the towns' first selectmen are urging a resolution.
Voters in the region have voted down a roughly $14 million budget proposal four times, despite tinkering and reductions made by the Board of Education.
Next week, they will vote on the latest proposal of $14.4 million, a $258,000 decrease from earlier figures.
"At first it was a question of spending," said Kent First Selectman Bruce Adams. "Now, from what I understand, the sticking point is how the administration is being run."
Key points of contention this budget season have been spending on technology and the three-year contracts of the superintendent and assistant superintendents, each with 2 percent annual raises.
The negotiated raises for administration have not set well with Region 1 parents, who want the five teaching positions returned that are cut in the proposed budget for 2013-14.
In June, the administration contracts were reviewed by an education board committee.
Committee members believed reopening contracts negotiated in good faith could put the region at risk. It could also jeopardize the region's ability to attract and keep high- performing administrators.
The contracts remained intact and one art teacher's position was reinstated. Still, the budget went down for the fourth time in a July vote.
On Aug. 1, Adams and first selectmen of Cornwall, Salisbury, Sharon and North Canaan penned a letter urging the education board and administration to work together, listening to residents' concerns and producing a budget proposal that would pass.
"No one will find everything they want in this situation," the letter reads, "but we believe that the November elections will result in a new board and new approaches to the public dialogue about Region 1."
The Region 1 Board of Education met Aug. 8.
The cut was approved.