Dashing to another meeting, Branford Schools took some time to explain the Board of Education’s 2011-2012 school budget, which was adopted last night.
Originally, the budget was proposed at a 3.97 percent increase from last year during Hernandez’s at on Monday night. The adopted budget came in at a 3.68 percent increase made possible by the BOE eliminating 2.4 additional full-time-equivalent teaching positions in addition to the 6.5 full-time-equivalent teaching positions already on the chopping block – some of those positions include retirements and one teacher who is leaving the school system through attrition.
The adopted budget is now $49,494,600 with an increase of $1,756,381. The large majority of the increase, stated Hernandez, is comprised of teachers’ salaries and health benefits, which totals more than $1.5 million.
For the 2012-2013 school budget, Hernandez sees the salaries figure changing as teacher contracts are renegotiated in the fall of 2011.
“We have to right size,” said Hernandez. “The decisions are all difficult,” he added, “but we’ll get there.”
The additional 2.4 teaching positions eliminated include one position at the high school (in the initial proposed budget no high school positions were eliminated) and an additional 1.4 positions at , which is in addition to the 2.5 positions already being cut from the intermediate level. While the additional 2.4 exact positions are not determined yet, you can read more about the 6.5 positions .
Looking at data that still has a lot of variables, Hernandez said that he and BOE are monitoring enrollment to see if class size can be expanded and teachers cut. Though the enrollment, according to Hernandez has remained stable in recent years, he stated, “The BOE and the administration are really responsive to the fact that if we have some declining numbers in enrollment we can compress in certain areas." Hernandez also mentioned at his Monday night presentation that you would never see him raise his hand for 28 kids in a classroom. With the average class size at the elementary level 18.5 to 18.6, teacher cuts could result in a maximum of 21 or 22 students per class according to the estimations.
While the elementary level Special Friends program is still on the list of cuts, the Horizons program will not be eliminated and all the sports programs are safe. All art and music programs were kept with the exception of WIS losing one music position and .5 physical education position.
The school budget will now head to the on Feb. 24 so check back for updates and feel free to comment about the recent BOE budget adoption.