Budget Cuts and Special Ed: Costs Doom All-Day Kindergarten

The Newtown Board of Education voted Wednesday not to implement all-day K for the 2012-13 school year.


A member of the Newtown Board of Education said the decision Wednesday to cancel plans to start all-day kindergarten in the local schools was forced by unexpected special education costs.

School board member Cody McCubbin said the board was facing a shortfall of about $200,000 from what it needed to start all-day kindergarten.  Keeping the program for the 2012-13 school year would have required cutting other existing programs from the budget.

The board recently learned that new special needs students would increase the school district’s special education expenses by about $100,000, and School Supt. Janet Robinson told them that school officials would hold educational evaluation meetings for other new special needs students this summer, possibly raising those costs even more.

Although some of those costs would be reimbursed by the state, McCubbin said the extra expense convinced the board to cancel plans for all-day kindergarten this year.

“They thought they could do it with a lean budget, but it turned out they couldn’t,” he said.

The Board of Education budget was cut by $1 million during the wrenching budget process this year, which required five referendums before town voters approved a town budget.

McCubbin said some parents who attended the Board of Education meeting Wednesday were disappointed by the decision.

He said he understood the two groups that were at odds during the five budget referendums. One side wanted all-day kindergarten and the other didn’t want the extra expense to pay for it.

“I understand it’s a bad economy and people don’t want to see their taxes go up,” McCubbin said.

He said he supported the idea of allowing parents who are willing to pay extra to make up the difference in cost between half-day and all-day kindergarten. He didn’t know how much that would be, but he thought it would be less than the cost of private school kindergarten and daycare.

McCubbin said he has two sons ages 5 and 6, and he pays $2,100 a month to send them to private kindergarten and daycare. But he said Robinson told the board that state law does not permit that. If the board offers an educational program, it cannot charge extra for it.

McCubbin said with the budget the voters approved for the schools, it wasn’t financially possible to implement all-day kindergarten.

“I don’t think anyone wanted to see it end that way,” he said.

Note: The third paragraph of this story has been revised to say that several special needs children, not just one single student, would cost the district $100,000.

Alex Tytler August 08, 2012 at 09:16 AM
Po, If Ridgefield jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you? Lets work on having a competent and efficient 1-12 consistent with lower spending.
Sam Mihailoff August 08, 2012 at 09:46 AM
please alphabetize and then resubmit
Judy Vetare August 08, 2012 at 12:45 PM
HMMMM, I tried to contact the Superintendent, in hopes she would have some information on how my sons three year gap would be closed? The Secretary refused to leave a message from me, due to my son being Special ED. Dr Robinson, with the appropriate support and tools, my son is capable of more then just packing grocery for the rest of his life. Now I'm about 100 steps away from your office you can come up to see me and let's go over how your system will allow my son to be successful in life or you can ignore me yet again?
Sam Mihailoff August 08, 2012 at 02:01 PM
Jackie, a sincere suggestion...if you attended a meeting and phrased your concerns "not" as questions cause the BoE will not answer questions and also avoided use of Geisler's name or any other staff or employee; you might get results. But, then again you would need to identify yourself...perhaps you could wear a costume. As far as your residential address, if Robinson can get away with using Primrose Lane as her “residential address,” so should anyone. Of course asking a series of questions and in unison, lobbing verbal hand grenades here on the Patch...the restaurant ad, and retail opinion hub of the web...few folks read it anymore and fewer give the contents any credibility. Try a Letter to the Editor in the Bee, but then again self- identification may once again be your Waterloo.
Beth August 08, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Don't speak to any members of the BOE, they have put our children's lives in danger they cannot be trusted. The only people you should be contacting regarding your Childs safety is the police.
Sawyer August 08, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Jackie, BOE members are not in official position until a BOE meeting has been called to order, and it's at that time they can respond to BOE issues. Also, any issues commented on publicly by any BOE member outside of a meeting, is only that individuals opinion and does not necessarily represent the majority of the BOE board. It would be helpful to your case to proceed with fact's, logic with no addition of emotion.
yoda August 08, 2012 at 03:17 PM
This is illegal on so many levels!!!!!
Sam Mihailoff August 08, 2012 at 03:55 PM
IT'S STILL THE SAME OLD STORY♪♫♫ A FIGHT FOR RIGHTS AND GLORY.... http://newtown.patch.com/articles/regan-updates-school-board-on-special-education#comments
yoda August 08, 2012 at 04:30 PM
Beth, it's not the BOE, they are Board members not employees of the town, that’s the BOE Administrations issue.
Gino Scarangella August 08, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Does that include the NYA? I see a lot of people in town that have benefited from that.
Gino Scarangella August 08, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Paul Alexander August 09, 2012 at 11:48 AM
Jackie et al, Until your questions come in the form of a letter from an attorney directed to the counsel for the School Board, you can expect to continue to be stonewalled.
Paul Alexander August 09, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Interesting.....So Machiavellian....Is she really that strategic? How does unleashing an attorney benefit her?
Paul Alexander August 09, 2012 at 06:09 PM
What the duece???!!! You might want to consider switching to decaf.
Sam Mihailoff August 09, 2012 at 07:32 PM
Jackie, this of course just eradicated any credibility you may have hoped to muster...quite sophomoric, pus Robinson has already skipped down the aisle years ago.
Sam Mihailoff August 09, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Jackie, this of course just eradicated any credibility you may have hoped to muster...quite sophomoric, pus Robinson has already skipped down the aisle years ago.
Sam Mihailoff August 10, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Jackie, you write a comment get a response then delete your entry taking the response along with it...seems to waste both our time doing that. Dear Paul and Sam, not that you care but try for one second being the mother of a special needs child and being screamed at BIG Y. Just imagine some lunatic saying to you and your child that their child is not getting kindergarten because of your ----- child on 6-19-12. How would you feel? What would you do?" Jackie, Absolutely horrible behavior, and attitude to blame someone with a disability of any degree. Such conversation isn't going to end well while in a public place where the mission is procuring household goods. This amounts to the same as road rage to a degree, and it does take two for the argument, entanglement, discourse to occur...so do not state that it was only the other person’s fault. “No fuel = no flame” Verbal insults lobbed by you here on Patch toward the BoE (whether deserved or not) show that you are NOT the little innocent bystander and victim in the Big Y encounters. We are all individuals, and are responsible for our actions. If you sat, write, reread, edit, and present your concerns CALMLY to each BoE member, you may gain a response. This does not mean that “Barbie’s” smiles and accolades followed by flying mud balls when her own personal agenda did not succeed is a solution either.
Sawyer August 10, 2012 at 10:06 AM
Sam, I suspect three new posters on this thread are trying to lure BOE members to comment and create a gotcha moment. It's either one of the same person, or three friends in cahouts, all three are new posters and started commenting on the same dates! I don't know what their agenda is, but I think it's time for Christine to close this thread.
Sam Mihailoff August 10, 2012 at 10:13 AM
Sawyer...keep the thread open The members of the BoE are answering specifics They are bright enough. It is interesting that some lobbing rocks were and remain silent about the goings on one, two, three years ago. Mike Regan and Robinson sure have some splainin' to do over the "allegedly" lost, missing, (pick a term) SPED funds...this could wind up being FBI material...Not kidding
onceuponanewtown August 10, 2012 at 12:27 PM
The people here in Stepford do more than lob rocks at people who try to speak out against their agenda - try it sometime! God forbid there is a child involved, then it's a hostage situation! Of course a parent is going to fight to protect their own, but the network they are fighting is just too far and wide. I am hoping there is still some good left here. Enough good to do the right thing. Sawyer: Please explain "Lure Out" and "Gotcha moment"??? Who cares about WHO is asking the questions? Who should mind giving honest answers? It's answers that EVERYONE is waiting for! Avoiding the questions leads one to believe it is worse than imagined.
Obi-wan August 10, 2012 at 12:27 PM
I still think full day could have happened regardless of these budget shenanigans, I think there are some who just did not want it...
onceuponanewtown August 10, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Scroll up a few to see another Big Y example of what happens when you speak up from "wake up newtown people". Why nickle and dime the entire Town and BOE budgets line for line except SPED...strange! There is a huge line item with many unhappy recipients. WHY IS THAT?
onceuponanewtown August 10, 2012 at 12:42 PM
I think is was just this years strategy to pass the budget first round and was used only to get a large increase in a bad economy: EPIC FAIL! Was there even a sincere, thought out plan to implement FDK or was that part of it going to be a second thought?
onceuponanewtown August 10, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Wow! I wonder if any of the recently resigned Newtown district employees have signed a similar agreement? FAIRFIELD PATCH: Government GOP Seeks Answers in Wake of CFO's Resignation Indemnity/Confidentiality/Non-Disparagement Clause Per the terms of the agreement, Hiller "knowingly, irrevocably, and unconditionally releases and forever discharges the town from any and all grievances, claims, demands, obligations, damages, liabilities, causes of action." In exchange, the town does the same for Hiller. The town agrees to indemnify, or insure, Hiller regarding any claims or omissions during his course of employment with the town. In turn, Hiller agrees to cooperate with "any lawsuits or administrative proceedings in which the town or Hiller is a party," and will be compensated at a rate of $675 per day if required to take part in such action. Under the terms of the agreement, Hiller is bound to confidentiality regarding the events leading up to his resignation and the agreement. Information pertaining to those events not to be disclosed to any third party, with the exception of Hiller's wife, attorney, and tax provider, and those individuals must also agree to confidentiality. Both parties agree they will not disparage or make negative statements about each other. Related Topics: CFO Resignation, Fairfield Greenbox, Michael Tetreau, and Paul Hiller
Sam Mihailoff August 10, 2012 at 01:09 PM
It sure does sound like the administration is trying with all their might to envoke CYA as the Numero Uno priority
Obi-wan August 10, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Agreed, I would be curious to see how the principles feel about Fdk at the schools that would have been affected. Or better yet how much input they had in the process. I'm sure JR would be a little nervous about that
onceuponanewtown August 10, 2012 at 01:48 PM
The article keeps getting buried on the back page then resurrecting itself....someone is trying hard to get rid of it. Why? Just a little more time...
Sawyer August 10, 2012 at 04:48 PM
onceauponanewtown, Semantics....sigh......respectfully, my concern/comment was posted to Sam!
Frank August 12, 2012 at 12:05 PM
chioma iroegbu April 18, 2013 at 10:43 AM
in unn, they administrative ensures that the students and staffs are comfortable try this.www.unn.edu.ng


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