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Budget Dominates Newtown BOE Discussion

The board also hears allegations of bullying on the boys basketball team.

The Board of Education opened its meeting on a high note Tuesday,, both of which recently won their respective Class LL state championships.

Just over two hours later the meeting came to a close with allegations from several people of bullying on the boys’ high school basketball team. Board members heard from a 15-year-old sophomore, his parents, and a couple of supporters about an alleged culture of verbal and physical abuse on the team.

Sandwiched between the high and low sports news, board members discussed the need for technology equipment updates, unanimously passed policy changes related to immunization requirements for school enrollment and student medical records, discussed the process for the upcoming superintendent’s evaluation, and added wording to clarify a policy on budget procedures and major object code transfers over $10,000.

They also listened to students from , who shared details of their Project Eagle community service projects and efforts to encourage participation from their families.

At one point during the meeting BOE Chairman Debbie Leidlein announced the news that the Legislative Council’s education sub-committee voted 4 to 2 Tuesday to approve the 2012-13 education budget as recommended by the Board of Finance. The Council is expected to act on the full budget at its meeting tonight.

The Board of Finance recommendation represents a slight increase over last year’s education budget. “That’s moving in a positive direction and we hope that the Legislative Council embraces that recommendation,” Leidlein said.

On January 31 the Board of Education adopted a budget of $70,055,794 for the 2012-13 school year, which represented a 3.07% (or $2,084,367) increase over the 2011-12 budget.

Leidlein said the board trimmed $1.5 million from Superintendent Janet Robinson’s proposed budget to arrive at that figure. The Board of Finance reduced it by another $700,000 after education officials were able to renegotiate existing contracts and rates for electricity and fuel.

Board member John Vouros said someone needs to mount a campaign to get people out to vote for the budget because they tend to be re-active rather than pro-active. Robinson said board members and PTA presidents can advocate people to get out and vote. In her position as superintendent, Robinson said she cannot advocate but can only alert people to the date and place of the vote.

Board member Cody McCubbin said that reminder might be important considering the Republican primary will be held the same day and could be confusing because both activities will require some voters to go to two different locations.

The primary and the budget referendum are scheduled for April 24.

Sam Mihailoff April 04, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Thank-you BoE and Superintendent Robinson for ignoring the vast majority of my formally submitted questions and concerns. I was definitely NOT expecting agreement nor any accolades for their submission but ignoring them entirely will certainly now leave me no choice than to vote a resounding “NO” on April 24th. 1- example...how much money was spent on legal consult PRIOR to the actual bus negotiations?...IGNORED 2- example...what is the current number of paid consultants?...IGNORED 3- example...why does Michelle Hiscavitch only have two “Chinese Music” classes at RIS; no strings (her area of “expertise”) and sits in district meetings for the balance of the time?...IGNORED 4- Janet Robinson flatly REFUSED TO ANSWER questions at two successive BoE meetings as to the “whys and wherefores” of the aides being pulled off the busses...never asked again!!! I’m still asking!!!
yoda April 05, 2012 at 12:03 AM
Keep in mind, if money is approved for the BOE, the town side will stay flat.
Newtown4 April 05, 2012 at 10:51 AM
Wow! Sam, when was it decided that the aides were to be pulled off the buses? I have been trying unsuccessfully since January to get the aide re-unstated onto my son's special needs bus. Do you have More information on this?
Sam Mihailoff April 05, 2012 at 11:51 AM
Family, decided then reversed..question remains who decided to eliminate the aides...Superintendent refuses to answer any questions...I would suggest that you contact Mrs. Leidlein, BoE Chair boedebbie@gmail.com
Bruce Walczak TheNewtownRooster.com April 05, 2012 at 12:03 PM
Yoda, it is important to remember that the town had the benefit of reduced interest on the capital we borrow. We also saved on commodity costs such as insurance. That saved well over a million dollars, which covered the increase in spending on the town side. So yes the town side is flat, but careful analysis shows that the interest and insurance savings were used to cover increased spending in other areas rather than returning the savings the the taxpayers.
yoda April 05, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Bruce, Where have you EVER heard returning savings to the taxpayer?
yoda April 05, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Bruce, Can you explain to me were the increase is on the town side?
Truthteller April 08, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Bullying is not exclusive to basketball. The Bee did an excellent job reporting more details from this meeting. Shameful that this young man and his family still have no resolution despite promises from several BOE members. Not only should coaches be ousted, but, Mr. Simon needs to go, as well. The laissez-faire attitude regarding the well-being of ALL student-athletes should emanate from the top. Unfortunately, by ignoring parents, the students themselves and retaliating against anyone who takes issue, such behavior is perpetuated. The coaches who encourage the development of their players, academically, personally and athletically can be counted on about three fingers.

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