At the regularly scheduled meeting on April 23, the Board of Education made plans to return two teachers, previously proposed as staff cuts, to the 2014-2015 budget after the referendum.
One third and two fifth grade teachers, both from the contemporary program, were originally eliminated as cost saving measures due to declining enrollment. The proposed cuts had left the contemporary fifth grade with a projected class size of 23.7, with a BOE guideline of 21 to 25, and the contemporary third grade at 22.3, with a BOE guideline of 22.
BOE chair Kerrie Flanagan said, “The parents had feedback. The administration and board listened and we have to do something we’ve never done before and that is the line items transfers.”
Because the mailing with the salary line already went out to the public and because the board is committed to a total figure of $35,178,402, representing a net increase of 1.74 net increase.
The board plans to announce, at the May 5 hearing, that it will use line item transfers to fund the two teaching positions without increasing the overall budget at the May 14 meeting. Flanagan said the process would be “very transparent.”
“There’s never been an intentional commitment to change after the vote,” Flanagan said.
According to Flanagan, in order to maintain the overall budget figure, funds would be drawn from intern and substitute costs and reduced funds for architectural and transportation fees.
The decision was made by more factors than class size.
Flanagan said that the administrators looked at the make up of those particular grades as well as the concurrent changes in education.
“With everything else going on, it was too much,” said Flanagan, who added that the board could permit larger classes in the future, as long as they were within BOE guidelines.
Several parents expressed concern over class sizes to the BOE during the public budget hearing on April 10.
The budget referendum is scheduled for May 6.