Oysterponds unveils tentative $5.8 million budget

03/10/2011 3:29 PM |

The Oysterponds Board of Education Wednesday night unveiled a tentative budget proposal that all agreed will have to undergo some major changes before it’s presented to voters for approval in May.

The plan would increase spending 5.47 percent, from $5.5 million this year to $5.8 million in 2011-2012.

It does not include raises for teachers, which are still being negotiated, or $50,000 for professional development that board members and acting superintendent Joan Frisicano have agreed is needed to prepare teachers for major curriculum changes mandated by the state. One is the new Response to Intervention program to help students unable to keep up with their coursework.

Ms. Frisicano said she had no role in preparing the plan, which was drafted by district clerk Melissa Palermo and business adviser Jennifer Ditta. Usually, a superintendent prepares the initial draft budget, but last month then-superintendent Stuart Rachlin left the district.

With salaries and benefits accounting for about 48 percent of the budget, total spending is only an estimate until a contract agreement is reached. The draft budget includes raises for years of service and for added courses teachers may take on, but any annual increase that will be applied to salaries can’t be included until a contract is settled.

At the board’s request, Ms. Frisicano drafted a list of cuts that she said could be made if the board elected to propose a “bare bones” budget. According to her list, the district could cut hours for speech therapy and counseling and roll back the English as a second language program. Math assistance to students could also be cut back, as could instrumental music.

The cuts would amount to “squeezing out pieces of people,” she said, referring to reducing the hours of some teachers.
Also, slashing the budget would undermine all of the long-term educational goals the board set the week before, said board member Krista de Kerillis.

Ms. Frisicano agreed, saying that a cutback in speech therapy alone would adversely affect about 15 students.

The board’s next budget session is Wednesday, March 23, at 7 p.m.

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5 Comment

  • “The draft budget includes not only raises for years of service and for added courses teachers may take on, but also any annual increase that may be applied to salaries.”

    Does that mean there is already a number in mind for the % increase in salaries? The Board is just not getting it- why not push for holding the line on any salary increases until the economy turns around and people (the taxpayers that fund the district) are making money again. Step increases amount to a 2-3% raise increase each year as it is, if I am not mistaken.

  • The budget includes only projected step and tier changes. There is not any salary increase in the numbers as the Board is still in contract negotiations

  • Every teacher gets at least a step increase every year under the current system. That means that their paycheck has more money in it every year. Sounds like a raise to me. Then we go ahead and award a 2,3, or 4% raise on top of that. Just wait and watch.

  • Ahhh Oysterponds…the land of plenty. Milk and Honey anyone?

  • Ahhh Oysterponds…the land of plenty. Milk and Honey anyone?