With two sessions of public comment in two days, and Board of Education members' first chance to analyze the budget proposal before them, it has become apparent that the ability to preserve academic services while implementing nearly $5 million in cuts has some concerned.
Windsor resident Aimee Crisanti addressed Board members Wednesday night during the first of three official public forums on the budget, saying that she is particularly concerned with what seems to be contradictory action with respect to the district's initiative to get all students to read on grade level by grade three.
Interim-Superintendent Dr. Ernest Perlini has proposed cutting two reading teachers at the elementary level. The budget proposes the elimination of a total of 15.9 positions.
"We talk about improving our test scores, and especially focusing on the reading level in third grade... to talk about that and the teachers you're eliminating seem contradictory," Crisanti said.
Among the consequences of the proposed staffing cuts is increased class sizes, something recognized by both Windsor resident David Furie, when he addressed the Board Wednesday, and Board President Doreen Richardson.
"I understand the economic times that we're in... but the public has a right to understand the pressure we're putting on teachers and what we're up against," she said.
Assistant Superintendent Robin Sorensen assured Board members that staff cuts (which are not all full-certified teachers) have been budgeted for with the potential affects on student performance on mind, adding that students will receive more time with certified instructors rather than additional time with paraprofessionals.
Sorensen also noted that many of the district's tutors are retired teachers.
The next public forum will be held at 12 p.m. on Sat., Jan. 28 in the Board of Education's board room at L.P. Wilson.