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Athletic and Technology Funding Increased in Proposed School Budget

Superintendent Van Riley added four items to his proposed 2013-2014 school budget.

The proposed Stonington 2013-2014 school budget got a little more expensive Thursday night when Superintendent Van Riley and the Board of Education added four items to the budget.

Riley added funds for athletics, testing and technology to the budget. The Board of Education and Riley also noted that they would have to set aside funds to meet the new state evaluation programs that will take effect.

A revised proposed budget with the official updated budget numbers will be discussed at the board’s next budget hearing on Jan. 24, 2013 at 7 p.m., at Stonington High School. Riley, however, said that it was his belief the new budget would still come in under a three percent budget increase. Currently, the $33.9 million proposed budget, which includes all-day kindergarten, would increase the school budget by $974,588 or 2.95 percent from last year.

The additions include $6,000 to fund transportation for Stonington High School Crew. The crew program began as a club sport in the 1990s and Riley said after talking to those involved in SHS crew he learned that it was always their intention that the team be funded as a sport, with the exception of equipment. From 2002 to 2008 the team received transportation funding, but it was cut after 2008, the same year a coaching stipend was added.

In his initial proposed budget $6,000 was allocated for PSATs and SATs funding, but Riley proposed adding an additional $24,833 so that the school could pay for all tenth graders to take the PSATS and for juniors and seniors to take the SATs as well as Advanced Placement testing.

Another addition was $20,000 for the purchase of Chromebooks at Pawcatuck Middle School. The computer runs on Google technology and uses a cloud-based system so students could access work from anywhere.

The final item is setting aside money, the board has not yet decided how much, so that the new state evaluation process will be met. The new Connecticut teacher and administrator evaluation process will add administrative requirements to the schools at the town level. The details on the state level could change, but Riley wants the board to approve a plan by April.

One possibility is to turn the dean position at Mystic Middle School and Pawcatuck Middle school into an assistant principal position. It would add a job responsibility to the current job. Another option is to turn both the dean and the elementary school level facilitator positions into assistant principal positions.

According to the Board of Education blog a public forum on the school budget is scheduled for Feb. 7, 2013. The board is not expected to vote on the budget until their Feb. 14, 2013 meeting.

What do you think of the additions?

Theresa Sajedian January 18, 2013 at 11:56 AM
Stonington High School Crew is an asset to the students of SHS. Ten percent of the student body participates and many students have received athletic scholarships to row or cox in college. My daughter has been on the team for four years, and it has been an invaluable experience for her. It is only right that the transportation costs should be covered for crew when it is covered for every other team sport at the high school. I applaud the superintendent for recognizing this.
Town Council January 18, 2013 at 06:40 PM
This article only discusses a budget increase showing what is gained, not what is lost. Funding Crew or any other athletics BEFORE taking care of academics is ridiculous. We need the budget to pass, yet we also need the Superintendent to wake up and realize what is important. Did you know that the high school budget for books was over 30,000 dollars? Do you know what it is now with the newly proposed budget? $0 Dollars. How can we remove book funding and fully fund sports? Did you also know several high school teachers are in danger of being laid off because of this proposal? I would like to save jobs before worrying about Crew. Crew and other sports have been going strong with outside funding and will continue to be. Please support the budget people, but help try to get it fixed! Allocate funding to what is most important! Education!
S January 19, 2013 at 01:46 AM
The school pays for students to take the SAT?
Theresa Sajedian January 19, 2013 at 05:42 PM
Logic seems to go out the window when people talk about money.Of course teachers and textbooks are more important than any sport. I am certainly in favor of putting education first, even at the cost of less funding to any sport or school activity. However, I also advocate equal treatment of all team sports.Level the playing field.Crew has always been left to raise funds on its own, even though it has the highest coed participation of any sport, and more college scholarships are given to crew athletes than any other sport. Education should certainly come first. After that, treat all the extra-curricular activities the same.

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