At the recent Board of Finance public hearing, several parents add their support for the education budget.
Photo by John Fitts
CANTON – A group of parents did their best last week to send a message as the Board of Finance prepares to deliberate on proposed 2016-2017 spending levels.
“I’m here tonight to ask the Board of Finance to accept the Board of Education budget with no further cuts,” Canton parent Andrea Barber said at a budget hearing last week. It was a sentiment echoed by many.
The Board of Finance hearing was to gather input on the proposed 2016-2017 budgets, especially the Board of Education and Board of Selectmen spending plans.
The Board of Education has proposed a budget of $25,266,699, a $364,903 or 1.47 percent increase over the 2015-2016 approved budget of $24,901,796.
The Board of Selectmen has proposed a 2016-2017 budget of $10,350,064, which would represent an increase of 3.68 percent over the 2015-2016 approved spending levels of $9,982,815.
While there was some support for the Board of Selectmen plan, education dominated the discussion, particularly in the area of class size. It’s been an issue for some time now.
In his proposed 2016-2017 budget, Superintendent Kevin D. Case recommended the district fund 5 third-grade teachers (There are currently 6). While the current second graders are spread throughout 5 “sections,” several parents advocated for six, stating that 18 and 19 in a room is actually dramatically different from 22 and 23 when it comes to space, social needs, individual attention and more. Soon, the Board of Education will consider Case’s proposal to fund that the position be funded from the Open Choice grant, monies the district receives for integrating Hartford students into its classrooms.
While that position is not in the budget plan before the Board of Finance, school officials have shown that further reductions would likely mean the elimination of a fourth-grade teacher, potentially putting that grade in a similar position. The Board of Education’s policy allows for as many as 26 in a classroom but parents remain passionate about the lower sizes. (The Board of Education has also agreed to revisit that policy).
At the hearing Thursday, approximately 30 parents came out to support the education budget and several spoke. … Continue Reading