Absolute Due Diligence – by Annaliese Spaziano
As a mother of two children attending Clinton public schools as well as chair of the Clinton Board of Education (BOE), I stand firmly behind the proposed BOE budget.
The BOE’s goal is to offer our students the best education possible while maintaining fiscal responsibility to our taxpayers. This can be a daunting task. The history of our budget process is so important when advocating for community support. My hope is that by providing a context behind the budget process, readers will have a better understanding of how the board has come to unanimous agreement behind the current proposed budget.
The board looked closely at enrollment projections and made the decision to focus on the overarching question, “Is the Clinton public school system staffed appropriately?” With declining enrollment, this was an area we could look to capture savings. After several meetings, numerous questions, relevant data analysis, and deliberations, the board was able to adjust personnel to capture a savings of approximately $400,000. These adjustments included: a reduction of three classroom teachers at the elementary level, the elimination of the Chinese program at The Morgan school due to low enrollment, the reduction of five literacy paraeducators, the reduction of a part-time custodian, and elimination of a library paraeducator.
That said, there are other costs that drive additional increases in our budget including energy costs, transportation, and health insurance increases. The health insurance increase alone is approximately half of our total percent increase.
I assure the community that board has done its absolute due diligence in identifying areas in which we could reduce the impact key budget drivers were to have on the budget without having an impact on our programming. I encourage your readers to join me in getting the budget passed the first time by voting “Yes” on May 10.