When the Board of Education approved a 5.84% budget increase it was looking at the most critical needs of our schools.
The 5.84% includes 4.24% in existing contractual obligations and 1.6% in operating costs.
There were no extras. This was to maintain the resources we currently have available and add minimal funding for other basic operating needs.
In recent weeks, that number has been reduced to 3% by our Board of Finance and Town Council.
This will result in crucial reductions, including teaching and paraprofessional positions.
It is now in the hands of Berlin citizens. On April 25, please vote “no, too low” on the education budget.
If “a school district’s budget truly reflects the commitment of the community to invest in the future of our children,” then we must stop nickeling and diming our children, teachers and administrators.
We need proper funding to remain competitive and appropriately-resourced in the years to come.
A 3% increase will not do that!
Families in Berlin deserve the best from our educational system.
We have top notch educators in the classrooms.
This is how we stay competitive and attractive, but it is only sustainable over time when fully supported financially now.
We offer so much in our schools – smaller class sizes, special education and counseling support resources, extracurricular offerings from basketball to robotics to drama club, and technology in so many aspects of learning.
Staff are providing opportunities to expose students early to rich learning resources.
This does not happen everywhere, but it is happening in Berlin!
It isn’t extra – it is essential, and it is certainly part of what we should be looking at when we talk about our “return on investment.”
Step away from the politics. Support our community by supporting our schools – keep it a bi-partisan, non-political decision.
I feel compelled to write this after watching the theater of politics in our town over the past few months. It has been painful to see.
We seem to be growing more and more complacent with our school system being the center of these theatrics and political stunts. Many parents and concerned residents have been working across the aisle, both Democrats and Republicans, in the fight to save our schools by supporting our schools.
Our schools are being underfunded by a significant amount. Whether you go by the full 5.8 percent increase that our Board of Education put forward, or the 4.23 percent that Superintendent Benigini has stated is the bare minimum to keep the schools running as is, the 3 percent increase approved by the Board of Finance is nothing short of irresponsible. The cuts that are proposed at the 3 percent level are devastating to our town’s learners and school staff.
While we can all agree that keeping our taxes low would be preferable, at this time we need to play catch-up. For the past few pandemic years our town and the BOE have been able to manage our finances well. There wasn’t a lot going on, and there weren’t as many tangible needs in our schools. However, now the world is open again, and we are all taking in the wondrousness of it once more. As we should. But, with that comes a price. We need to be willing to pay for it.
Our learners and school staff need us now, more than ever! The budget is headed to a town-wide referendum vote on Tuesday April 25. Please vote "no" on the BOE budget, and then choose "too low" for the advisory question.