Berlin school principals weigh in on proposed budget, a 4.65 percent increase

Berlin school principals weigh in on proposed budget, a 4.65 percent increase


BERLIN — School principals made their case for additional staff and other items a day after the superintendent of schools proposed a budget of $43.9 million, an increase of 4.65 percent.

Last year, the Town Council approved an increase of 1.22 percent.

“It usually comes down to salary and benefit increases,” said Superintendent of Schools David Erwin.

Almost 3.6 percent of the increase proposed for 2017-18 is in salaries and benefits.

On Tuesday, school principals spoke about the increased needs for math and language arts interventionists. Interventionists work to improve academic and behavioral performance.

“All three schools looked at paraprofessionals to support math interventions and a certified staff member to support writing interventions,” said Matt Correia, principal at Willard Elementary School. “We do not have a writing interventionist at any of the elementary schools currently.”

Middle school Principal Sal Urso said upper grades also need interventionists.

“There are students now that need that help,” he said.

At the high school, Principal Francis Kennedy said his goal was to “not move backwards.”

“We have more to lose,” he said, regarding the completion of extensive high school renovations.

He would like another reading teacher and a full-time athletic trainer.

Athletic Director Jeff Mauri said the trainer, in addition to a current part-time trainer, would be an asset to the entire school system.

Board President Matt Tencza said the idea is good, but it may not be the right year to add a full-time position.

The town was recently informed that its Education Cost Sharing grant for the current fiscal year was cut by $133,924. More reductions in state aid are expected in 2017-18.

A reduction of three staff positions is also included in Erwin’s budget proposal.

The capital improvement budget, which includes technology replacements and upgrades, is proposed at $679,000. The site and building repairs capital budget is proposed at $586,000 which includes an increase in security cameras, a new middle school phone system and soundproof music room walls.

Erwin’s spending plan will be considered by the Board of Education. The school board will then send its budget to the Town Council.


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