FALLS VILLAGE — In a fifth attempt to get a budget passed, Region 1 Board of Education members voted Thursday to remove a $94,000 appropriation that was to go toward purchasing iPad Minis for all students at Housatonic Valley Regional High School.During a meeting that again filled the high school library, Chairman Jonathan Moore of Kent recommended the cut, saying with school close to opening, it would be too late to implement the program. Technology and the three-year contracts that provide 2 percent annual raises for the superintendent and assistant superintendent have been the lightning rods during this contentious budget season.
Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain said Thursday that if the budget passes on the fifth try, she would give up the last year of her three-year contract and donate her 2 percent raise to the school’s endowment fund for the children.
Moore said that although Assistant Superintendent Diane Goncalves’ contract has also been an issue, attorneys have said it cannot be discussed because of a pending lawsuit. Goncalves is suing Falls Village board member Gale C. Toensing, claiming she has caused her emotional distress. Goncalves was not at the meeting.
Chamberlain is also being sued by her executive secretary, Lucille Paige, who is charging, among other things, that she was denied her right to free speech for taking part in an independent investigation of the region. Paige is currently on paid administrative leave.
During the comment period, William Arlofski of Reverse Polarity in Canaan, which services some the region’s elementary schools, said many inaccuracies relating to technology costs have been made at board meetings. He said the position of network technician should be reconsidered because the region is setting itself up for failure.
Michael Ellington of Canaan noted the school has no technology plan. “You’re throwing extra money at this. The curriculum should drive your technology. Where’s the plan?” he asked.
Contact Ruth Epstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BUDGET WATCH: REGION 1
2012-13 approved: $14,689,095
2013-14 proposed: $14,446,284
Decrease: $246,811 or 1.65 percent
Next: Referendum Aug. 20, noon to 8 p.m. at region’s town halls.