school committee cuts Westerly Schools budget, but there is still a long way to go | Where is
WEST – Westerly Middle School teaching staff will be cut by two and the school district’s transportation service will be cut due to recently adopted measures to reduce a budget deficit for 2021-2022.
The school committee voted unanimously at a meeting Wednesday to approve the budget adjustments recommended by the district finance and operations director Cindy Kirchhoff. In total, the adjustments represent a reduction of $ 305,552, leaving the district’s budget deficit for 2021-22 at $ 622,129. The committee had already authorized $ 77,095 in cuts from the initial deficit of $ 1 million.
The school committee had asked for an increase of $ 1,610,958 in the local tax dollar allowance, but city council approved an increase of only $ 600,000. State aid is expected to decrease by $ 220,095. The combination of council action and declining state aid left the school district with a deficit of $ 1,004,778.
The cuts made on Wednesday include the removal of a math / science teacher and a social studies / English teacher at the college. Both positions are currently vacant and will be cut as part of the restructuring of the school’s teaching team, Kirchhoff said.
The school district will also eliminate a bus line, which will result in the removal of a bus driver and bus monitor position. A vacant public transport assistance post will also be abolished.
The committee also approved the elimination of a budget item for curtains at Babcock Hall at Westerly High School. Curtains as well as improvements to the auditorium’s sound and lighting systems will be paid for with funds from the current budget which will be transferred to cover costs. The funds had been allocated in the current budget for classroom furniture ($ 25,608), technological equipment ($ 50,234), the salary of a science teacher ($ 59,900) and employee benefits. teacher ($ 15,942).
Two additions to the 2021-2022 budget – $ 24,429 for charter school tuition and $ 18,708 to cover salary adjustments and allowances for unified athletic coaches – were also approved by the committee.
The committee also approved three notices of non-renewal of teachers and school nurses. State law requires school districts to notify employees by June 1 if the district plans not to renew their contracts. The teachers concerned are a part-time music teacher, a full-time school nurse and a part-time school nurse. Superintendent of Schools Mark Garceau said the notifications are linked to the budget deficit. “In order to close the million dollar gap, we have to make cuts. That’s what drives us to make this move tonight,” Garceau said.
Those on the non-renewal list could be recalled based on final budget decisions, Garceau said.
The budget, according to state law, must be in balance on July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.