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Groton School Board OKs 1.4 Percent Budget Increase for Education

The $73,662,715 budget approved Tuesday would cut 25 percent of the district’s paraprofessionals and more than a dozen teachers.

The Groton Board of Education on Tuesday approved a $73.66 million budget for the coming fiscal year, a 1.4 percent increase over this year’s spending.

Board Members Rita Volkmann and Shelley Gardner voted against.

“It’s too much of an increase for our town,” Volkmann said. Even though she said she suggested adding items back in, she would have made cuts elsewhere.

Board Member Chaz Zezulka said he never thought the board would cut the budget as much as it did.

“In these times, in this day and age, that is miraculous,” Zezulka said.

The cuts included 25 percent of the district’s paraprofessionals, more than a dozen teachers, and transportation for students who choose magnet schools outside of Groton.

“In a budget year like this, we’ve got to take care of the kids that are staying here and gong to our schools,” Board Member Bob Peruzzotti said.

The budget goes to the Town Council next, then to Representative Town Meeting.

Budget cuts made by the school board include:

  • $707,000 for paraprofessionals. Cut represents 50 to 60 paraprofessionals out of a total staff of about 190.
  • $500,000 for purchased services across the budget. Depending on the department, this may include field trips, travel for instruction, equipment repairs or other items.
  • $150,000 for the athletic and activity budget at the high school and middle schools, including supplies.
  • $90,000 for a portion of the elementary music program (cut would affect the strings program).
  • $180,000 for two middle school French teachers.
  • $90,000 for a middle school computer teacher.
  • $540,000 for high school teachers. Cut would reduce one teacher each in math, science, health, technology, world language and English.
  • $90,000 for a high school counselor.
  • $20,000 for field trips (a 20 percent cut).
  • $200,000 for supplies (a 20 percent cut).
  • $100,000 for out of district transportation (for students that choose to attend magnet schools elsewhere).
  • $138,396 for ipads for seventh graders.
  • $100,000 for three special education tutors.
  • $100,000 for central office support.
  • $160,000 for custodial services.
  • $32,000 for secretarial services.
Rick McDonald February 28, 2013 at 07:48 PM
Your point L.A.S.. B.R.E.E stated other towns will spend more, will not may, indicating he/she knows this for fact. I asked which towns since my check showed most around here spend not even close and are not inclined to spend more than Groton. In my opinion, Groton's problem is not that it does not spend enough on education it is that it does not spend effectively. A school closed, student body down yet we need to increase spending? I say no
GlpGeorge February 28, 2013 at 08:45 PM
Couple of questions....I thought the Town was either fully or partially reimbursed by the state for Magnet school transportation. I remember years ago when the BOE tried this maneuver that there was transferring of funds earmarked for Magnet transportation to other uses was not allowed. I am not sure. but I remember an issue with it #2. Has the BOE done their due dilligence on this transportation cut? I see this as being an INCREASE in students back to Groton because parents are unable to transport children to the Magnet or ISAAC school, Won't this cause an INCREAED demand on the class size and maybe special education programs? It might be the lesser of two evils to spend 100k to transport the 70 or so students to the schools they have been going to. I'm not going to lie to ya..my daughter goes to ISAAC and this is a personal hit for myself and my daughter, but it's still not a done deal. Denying transportation to about 70 if not more students will not sit well with the vocal voting public, get ready for the showdown at Town Hall. This is such a dog and pony show....the budget still has to get Town Council approval and then to the RTM who makes decisions based on personal opinions and uneducated emotional kneejerk responses.
B-Mom February 28, 2013 at 11:58 PM
The "averaging" of salaries was began by Kadri. How did he get to that number? Who knows. But the teachers who have moved through the steps in their contract (I believe there are 13 or 14) are not making $90,000 even with advanced degrees. It takes well over a decade to get to the top step. Using averages doesn't make any sense to me.
B-Mom March 01, 2013 at 12:07 AM
The education budget has had three years of level funding. How does that compare to the town side of the budget?
mysticparent March 06, 2013 at 06:39 PM
I agree with you on that! Getting rid of an entire program at the beginning level (3rd. grade strings) for retaining 3 band teachers for 2 middle schools is wrong. It's a good program, but not needed. No programs would be lost if the cut was at the middle school level

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