Berlin school board figures out remaining spending cuts

Published on Tuesday, 23 January 2018 22:31
Written by Charles Paullin


BERLIN - The Board of Education announced Monday how it will come up with the rest of the $400,000 by which the Town Council asked it to reduce its current year’s spending.

At a previous meeting, the board discussed saving just over $300,000, in part, through a lower salary for School Superintendent Brian Benigni than predecessor David Erwin.

That measure, along with not filling the assistant superintendent position vacated by Benigni when he took over for Erwin, who retired on Jan. 2, saves $89,000.

The other savings previously announced were not using $125,000 set aside in unemployment funds in case it was needed for 11 positions that were cut last year as part of the budget process for this year. All people filling those positions found placement elsewhere, not requiring the use of the $125,000, said Board of Education President Matthew Tencza.

Not filling an information technology director position saves $58,000. The district decided to promote someone within the district to oversee the responsibilities left uncovered when the previous IT director retired in the fall, Tencza said.

On Monday, the board said additional savings would be realized with a new assistant principal at McGee Middle School hired at a lower salary step than the previous one - a savings of $15,390.

A new principal at a lower step at Griswold Elementary School - saving $8,614 - is another measure.

Having interim Vice Principal Barbara Ventura fill the vacancy left by former Berlin High School Principal Francis Kennedy, who retired in November for a job with the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, provides $36,749 in savings.

Hiring a less experienced math teacher at Berlin High School realizes $7,247 in savings. Not filling a school buildings operations position vacancy saves $60,000.

Tencza said it was “coincidently fortuitous” the savings could be realized without making any staffing cuts or program changes. Benigni said the district is hoping to fill all the positions with next year’s budget.

The spending reduction request from the Town Council came after the town received $600,000 less financial aid from the state.

The council also requested the town to save $200,000. Acting Town Manager Jack Healy proposed the idea for the split between the town and school board roughly based on how much each section comprises the town’s $85.2 million budget.

Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or

Posted in New Britain Herald, Berlin on Tuesday, 23 January 2018 22:31. Updated: Tuesday, 23 January 2018 22:34.