PLAINVILLE – A $35.9 million budget was adopted by the Board of Education for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, a total 5.13 percent increase from the current year.
“It’s a very bare-bones budget,” said Maureen Brummett, Superintendent of Plainville Schools.
Nearly 4 percent, or $1.3 million, of the 5.13 percent increase is due to health insurance. Actual claims in the town’s self-insured plan significantly exceeded expected claims last year and left a fund deficit of $2.3 million. As a result, health insurance was budgeted higher for next year.
Brummett presented three budget options recently to the board for adoption.
Option A was proposed for a 5.31 percent increase, after health insurance, and included the addition of a new math teacher, an indoor track program and a school resource officer.
The addition of a school resource officer at the high school would have been through a partnership with the town and police department. At a January budget meeting Roberto Medic, Plainville High School principal, said through December the school has had to call police over 60 times for various incidents.
The second option was proposed as a 5.17 percent increase, after health insurance, and included the new math teacher and indoor track program.
The high school had an indoor track team several years ago but was eliminated.
Chris Farrell, district athletic director, presented the proposal to Brummett and members of the board at a budget meeting last month. The estimated cost for indoor track was $10,781 each (according to the teachers’ contract) for a head coach and assistant coach and over $2,000 for transportation, dues and fees. Costs were offset by reductions of allowed games, scrimmages and equipment.
The board chose the third option in a 5 to 4 vote which only included the math teacher for a 5.13 percent increase after the health insurance cost. The new math teacher is by state mandate as incoming high school freshmen will now need four math classes to graduate instead of three.
“There are a lot of fiscal issues we have to worry about,” said Andrea Saunders, chair of the education board. “I can’t justify adding new programs when we’re laying people off.”
The elementary schools’ wellness program, which gives students two 20-minute “breaks” a day, will be reduced eliminating three tutors and one paraprofessional. Students will have one 20-minute break instead.
Other eliminations include one teacher at Linden Elementary School, a high school technology education teacher and a half-time high school psychologist.
Special education teacher and tutor positions at the middle school will remain vacant after retirements.
Brummett said the end of the year will determine whether the eliminations result in lay-offs or reassignments.
The adopted budget will be presented to the Town Council March 1.