Last night, the Region 1 school board restored an art teacher position, then made some other cuts before voting to send the proposed 2013-14 budget back to residents.
A second referendum is now scheduled for Thursday, May 30, from noon to 8 p.m. Most talk amongst board members was on reducing 5.4 positions because of declining enrollment. Under the original budget four full-time positions would have been cut and one retiring teacher would not be replaced. The remaining 0.4 of a position would have eliminated a social studies position to make room for a dean of students. Last night, the board restored the art teacher and the part-time social-studies teacher, while eliminating the dean position. That then left leaving a net reduction of four teachers. Student Government Association students Christian Allyn and Hillary Henrici submitted a petition signed by 332 students asking the board to reconsider restoring the teachers, saying such a move will result in larger class sizes and the lack of electives. Falls Village representative Gale Toensing’s motion to restore the science, English and math teachers was defeated when only she and Salisbury’s William Tedder voted in favor. The Region One Board also voted last night in favor of asking the superintendent, assistant superintendent and business manager to consider reopening negotiations on their proposed contracts, which would award them 2 percent annual raises for three years. Board members also discussed plans to change the network administrator and technical coordinator’s positions to serve all the schools, which included large raises, issuing iPad Minis to all students, a large increase in the lines for curriculum development and in service, adding a after-school hall monitor and creating a technology help desk position. All those administrative items were kept in the new budget proposal.
During the meeting it was stated by the administration that 3 of the 4 teachers that were eliminated have other jobs….that was angrily denied by shouts of NO from the public in attendance. It was later learned that one of the NO shouts came from one of the teachers who supposedly has a new job. NOT SO..only one teacher (who was hired in North Canaan) had a new job (if the Art teacher is added back she will be the second). The other teachers still do NOT have signed contracts, or jobs as of last night.
We at regiononereport.com wonder about the legality of talking about teachers employment in a public meeting, without allowing the teachers themselves to talk, or even giving the teachers the right to decide whether to talk about their employment in an open meeting. This seems like it should have been done in executive session…full video of the meeting will be posted here on regiononereport.com, and also on the robinhoodradiotv/CATV 6 YouTube page.