Southington BOE backs repurposing security funds for middle school sports

Southington BOE backs repurposing security funds for middle school sports

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SOUTHINGTON — The Board of Education voted 6 to 3 Thursday night to submit a $101.6 million budget request to the Board of Finance.

The final vote came after a 5 to 4 vote to remove $56,000 in funding school officials had earmarked for visitor verification security systems and instead use it for middle school sports. The motion was made by Vice Chairman Joseph Baczewski.

Under the budget passed Thursday night, $96,000 was allocated for middle school sports next fiscal year.

The district is currently spending $15,000 on middle school sports. Officials previously proposed upping those funds to $40,000. Last year, the district did not fund middle school sports, which were instead supported by parents paying participation fees and other community fundraising.

The Board of Education won’t adopt a final spending plan until the Board of Finance and Town Council decide how much funding to allocate to the school district.

Board Chairwoman Terri C. Carmody voted against both motions.

“We need to remember that our administration put this safety system into our budget because they believe in it,” she said.

Baczewski spoke of the value of school sports.

“Talking with colleagues and people in the community, well some of the best relationships built in their school years were through sports,” he said.

Board member David M. Falvo, who voted affirmative both times, felt the security system in place is adequate.

“I would rather move that cost over to middle school sports, especially since our schools are safe with procedures we have in place now,” he said. “I think that’s something the community would be in favor of.”

Board secretary Colleen W. Clark feels the security should be improved.

“While I appreciate you want to fund middle school sports, I can’t put a price on safety and piece of mind of students, parents and our staff,” Clark said.