Budget issues to again top Berlin school board's agenda

Published on Sunday, 21 January 2018 22:17
Written by Charles Paullin


BERLIN - The Board of Education is expected tonight to discuss the remaining cuts for the current fiscal year and provide a review of next year’s budget proposal and curriculum changes at the high school.

At its last meeting two weeks ago, the board introduced four measures to realize the $400,000 in savings the Town Council asked the school district to make to the current fiscal year as a result of less state aid for the current fiscal year.

Six months of savings with a lower salary for Brian Benigni as the new superintendent than former Superintendent David Erwin - who retired and was replaced by Benigni on Jan. 3 - is one measure.

Six months of savings by not filling the assistant superintendent position vacated by Benigni when he replaced Erwin, is another.

Not filling a technology director position that was vacated due to retirement in October, and not needing to use $125,000 that was put aside for unemployment benefits when the district made cuts during last year’s budget process, are the others.

The unemployment didn’t need to be used because all teachers let go found jobs elsewhere, said school board President Matthew Tencza.

The total savings come to just over $300,000.

“What I am happy to say is it appears we are going to be able to come up with the money this year, without having to make any personnel cuts and having an impact on the opportunities we give to our students,” said Tencza. “At the end of the day, that’s the most important thing.”

The board is expected to discuss the final savings measures on Monday.

The town was asked by the council to cut $200,000 from its budget, which they did by freezing five positions vacated by retirements.

The board will also provide a review of Benigni’s $45.2 million budget request for the 2017-18 fiscal year, a 5.11 percent increase over the current year’s budget even with cuts.

The major changes include the removal of an assistant principal shared at Willard and Griswold Elementary Schools and replacement with a “teacher leader” position, which would require an administrative salary.

Removal of a teacher at Willard Elementary School and two teachers at other schools to be determined and other cuts over $700,000 are other major changes.

Program changes in art, business, family consumer sciences, music and technology education will also be discussed.

The meeting will be in the Board of Education conference room, 238 Kensington Road, at 7 p.m.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Berlin on Sunday, 21 January 2018 22:17. Updated: Sunday, 21 January 2018 22:20.