BERLIN - The town and school district are leaving staff positions vacant as a way to make up for $600,000 in state aid cuts.
Acting Town Manager Jack Healy said last week that the deputy town clerk’s position as well as two library and two custodial positions have been or will soon become vacant through retirement and will not be filled.
“We’re shifting responsibilities and maybe bringing in part-time help at a lower cost,” said Healy of the effort to save nearly $200,000 on the municipal side of the budget.
The Town Council asked the town to save $200,000 and the school board to save $400,000 by the end of the year to make up for the state funding reductions.
Finance Director Kevin Delaney said the hiring freeze works out to about $160,000 in savings, and other measures, such as canceling training conferences, will make up the rest.
School Superintendent Brian Benigni said he hopes that not filling the assistant superintendent position he vacated when he became superintendent on Jan. 2 after the retirement of David Erwin will help the schools reach their savings goal.
Not finding a permanent high school principal to fill the vacancy created when Francis Kennedy took a job with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges is another effort, Beningi added.
“We’re not sure if that’s the whole $400,000. We have to look at the numbers,” said Benigni on Friday.
If the cuts still fall short, he said, it is too early to speak of specifics on where other savings could be made.
A final decision should be made by February, he said.
Both the town and school district are starting their budget process for next year.
With more cuts expected to come it could be another challenging budget year, Delaney said.
Benigni is set to present his 2018-19 budget request, which is starting off at less than what is needed for a “status quo” budget, he said, to the school board tonight. Status quo means nothing is added nor removed from the current operating year.
The school board meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Board of Education conference room, 238 Kensington Road.
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.