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Investing in Our Children, Our Community

School Board seeks to stabilize investments to support key district-wide transformation after 4 years of significant cuts in staff, and reorganization of elementary schools

The Windsor Board of Education adopted its 2013-2014 financial plan. As a community, that collective investment measured in dollars for the 2013-2014 school year, including expected State funding ($13.1mm) for education, is $63, 994, 896.

This represents an increase of 2.49% over this school year’s budget. This increase is largely due to contractual obligations, transportation, magnet school tuition and special education costs.

This budget facilitates important work underway in our schools, for example:

  • Implementation of Common Core Curricula in mathematics and English language arts (www.corestandards.org). 
  • Implementation of the Connecticut System of Educator Evaluation and Development: created by State law – an evaluation system designed to ensure there is a highly effective teacher in each classroom (www.connecticutseed.org). 
  • Implementation of an Holistic Accountability Model: provides for alignment between Board of Education goals, budget and district improvement initiatives. 
  • Implementation across district of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS): evidenced-based practices for improving academic and behavioral outcomes for all students (www.pbis.org). 
  • Maintains districts commitment to foreign language in elementary schools (FLES). 

The budget includes 15 hours of additional instruction time (as a result of recently concluded contract negotiations with our teachers, instructional time will increase to 15 hours per year for three years to 45 hours).

This budget also reflects savings and reductions in certain expenditures over the prior year:

Savings: The Board’s largest contractual obligation is salaries and benefits. This line item increased by 1.03% even though our negotiated salary increase for next year is 3%.

The Board’s decision to move to a self-funded health insurance plan measurably contained cost in this area.

Reductions: Instructional services of $72.6K – due to reorganization of elementary schools and more efficient use of human resources.

We often get asked, "Where are the savings from reduction in student enrollment?"

Over the past few years the Board has sought to optimize facilities' use and reduce staff to a level consistent with student enrollment.

2012-2013 Budget: 0.99% increase - Closed Roger Wolcott - Net staff reductions of 15.9 positions (includes staff reductions at the middle and high school, elimination of 1 administrator and staffing of full-day kindergarten). Dollar value of staff reductions in excess of $1.2 million.

2011-2012 Budget: 1.82% - It is important to note here that had we maintained the same level of services from the prior year, the increase would have been 3.14%, hence a reduction in services was necessary to achieve a low budget increase.

2010-2011 Budget: 0% - Staff reductions – 18.5 positions including 2.5 administrators. Dollar value of staff reductions: over $1.2 million. Additional reductions totaling over $150K.

2009-2010 Budget: 1.98% - Staff reductions: 38 positions including 2 administrators. Dollar value of staff reductions: $1.6 million. Additional reductions totaling $148K.

Enrollment projections suggest that student enrollment has stabilized.

It is therefore highly unlikely that there will be further significant reductions in staff or facilities. If economic development plans for the Town materialize as planned this would most likely hold true over time.

The challenge for our Board is not in trimming excess from our education budget; that has been done. Our challenge and opportunity is one we share with the State and our nation: ensuring that each and every child in our care graduates with the skills, aptitude and character necessary to sustain themselves and improve the communities in which they live. This is the work to which the Board, our Superintendent and staff is dedicated. Thank you for your continued support of Windsor Public Schools.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Michaela I. Fissel February 28, 2013 at 11:54 AM
Based on the increasing number of individuals who express their indignation with the current leadership of the elected BOE, it is quite clear that there is a significant gap between meeting the needs of the children who comprise the Windsor community, and achieving the agenda of the BOE. I would suggest that you step down from your position as President of the BOE to ensure that there is equity in the leadership of our elected officials. The lack of impartiality has been demonstrated during BOE meetings through the comments made by elected members, the continuous disregard for bylaws, along with the hiring of an individual to complete a research study that you have supported for more than 3 years in an effort to substantiate your personal theory that Windsor teachers are failing our students, as you noted during your February 2012 Public Testimony to the Education Committee of our State Legislature (published this previously on the Patch). I would not believe for a moment that just because people are not quick to comment on the Patch or during the public comment period of the BOE meetings that our community does not realize that the mismanagement of the Windsor Public Schools fall on a select majority of the BOE. By the way, I am pretty sure that I voted for you, so I realize that I am partially at fault.
Avon Lady May 06, 2013 at 07:01 PM
Voting NO! Wasting the Tax Payers Money to Line the Pocket of the Chicago Shyster $327,966 to do a Racist Study over the next 3 yrs is in no way a responsible reason to Raise Property Taxes Especially when Windsor is LOWERING EDUCATIONAL STANDARDS via Common Core http://stopcommoncore.com/commoncore/
common sense May 14, 2013 at 09:39 PM
agree... and that is why the budget failed..overwhelmingly!! Chew on that Doreen Richardson!!

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