Overview of Recent AWRSD Budget Cuts

Created in December of 2016 and updated in January of 2017 by the Support Our Children and Schools parent group, based on information from school district administrators.

Oakmont Regional High School

Positions cut this past year (2016-2017):

  • 1.0 Social Studies (Psychology/Sociology)
  • 1.33 Health
  • .5 Adjustment Counselor
  • .17 Science
  • 1.0 Librarian (affects NEASC accreditation)

Additional positions cuts since 2006:

  • 6.76 regular education classroom teachers (1.63 Social Studies, 1.43 English, 1.33 Business, 1.33 Health, and 1.0 Foreign Language (Latin)
  • A total of 41 sections have been eliminated since 2006
  • 2.5 custodians
  • Non-core department heads (business ed, foreign language, guidance, health/fitness, tech engineering)

Co-curricular cuts from this past year (2016-2017):

  • Athletics and marching band fee has been raised to $285 per child, per activity
  • Teams that have been eliminated:
    • Cheerleading
    • Golf (reinstated after fundraising by parents)
    • Boys and Girls Tennis
    • Freshman Girls and Boys Basketball
  • Clubs that have been eliminated:
    • GSA
    • Hiking Club
    • Math Team
    • Mock Trial Team
    • Oakmont Environmental Club
    • Photo/Media Club
    • School Store
    • Science Club
    • Spanish Club

Overlook Middle High School

Paraprofessionals:

One building paraprofessional current school year (compared to 5 in 2007).

  • Building paraprofessional provides important in class support and helps cover meetings
  • Remaining building paraprofessional s are dedicated to helping students in programs

Curriculum Expertise

Math Interventionist position has been eliminated.

  • Math interventionist helped all students who may have benefitted from extra support with math, whether a child was on an IEP, 504 plan or not
  • Math interventionist targeted gaps in students’ knowledge and helped to bridge the gaps to meet math expectations of current grade level

Regular Education Teachers

  • Loss of 4 total full-time equivalent teachers since 2007 (current school population similar to numbers in 2007).
  • This year one regular Science Teacher schedule has been reduced from full-time to .8.

Library

The certified librarian position/paraprofessional position has been eliminated. The library is currently able to be open due to the dedication and commitment of a teacher, Mrs. Belkin, who organizes parent volunteers so that the library can be open at lunch.

  • Librarian used to teach a special media class that helped students learn to cite sources, research information effectively, recognize credible sources, distinguish fact from opinion (class no long available to students).
  • Librarian managed Chromebook carts and other technology that supported students and teachers.
  • Certified librarian also has special training (master’s degree, media specialist) to manage school media resources and to help students locate and decode information.

Clubs/After School Activities

The stipend to compensate teachers for supervising clubs (approximately $4,000) has been cut from the budget.

  • These clubs were created based upon children’s interest and are a valued part of Overlook for the students and the staff.
  • The teachers are volunteering their time to supervise clubs during current school year.

Homework Club is no longer available. In the past, students were able to bring homework they had challenges completing to work on in the library, a teacher would staff and be available to students if they needed help.

Special Education

  • No significant cuts.
  • Homework Club and Curriculum expertise of math interventionist has impacted all, special ed and regular ed students.

Late Bus

Has been cut for years. This was a helpful option for many working parents and their children. Some children are not able to be a part of a sports team or extracurricular activity because there is no transportation.

Global Expectations

Parents within our community have high expectations of the schools, teachers, administrators and school officials have been working tremendously hard to work within the budget with least impact on the students. Outside of teaching within core subject areas, the school is also responsible for bullying prevention (60% of social emotional/ bullying intervention is due to social media) and education, eye screenings, drug intervention, scoliosis screenings.

Without appropriate staffing, the probability of an increase in bullying and classroom disruptions increases.

Budget

  • 80% of the Budget is Staffing Expenses
  • 20% of the Budget is supplies and building expenses

Meetinghouse and Westminster Elementary Schools

Position Cuts for 2016-2017

2 full-time classroom teacher positions cut.

  • Kindergarten – class size now 17-19 students
  • Grade 1 – class size now 21-23 students
  • Grade 2 – one full-time teacher cut – class size now 26-27 students
  • Grade 3 – class size 23 students
  • Grade 4 – one full-time teacher cut initially – late August one position was able to be added back – class size 22-24 students
  • Grade 5 – one full-time teacher cut – class size now 27-30 students

Past Cuts and Other Considerations

Librarian – MHS/WES has never had a licensed librarian; originally there was a paraprofessional running the libraries for both schools, that position was cut around 2007; currently the libraries are run by parent volunteers.

Custodians – In the past there were 3 full time night custodians, 2 at WES and 1 at MHS; today there is 1 full-time night custodian. This impacts the availabilities of the buildings at night for community use (community basketball program offsets the cost to keep the building open during evening in the winter months); daytime custodian staffing was also reduced around 10 years ago; workload for custodians has increased over time. For example: Extended Day is now run in both buildings, requiring custodians to clean and maintain both buildings before and after school while it is in use by the students who attend the Extended Day program.

Title 1 Reading – In past there were 1 full-time teacher and 1 full-time paraprofessional for Title 1 Reading. Westminster does not qualify for funding and available monies were earmarked for other district needs, resulting in a loss of the Title 1 Reading Program for MHS/WES.

Special Education Paraprofessionals – In past there were 3-4 special education paraprofessionals available to float between grades and classrooms as needed to offer student and classroom support. Today there are no floating special education paraprofessionals, only paraprofessionals assigned to specific special education programs. This impacts classroom teacher availability to work with students individually and in small groups.

School Adjustment Counselor – Originally, there were 2 full-time School Adjustment Counselors (one for each building); today there is one 0.75 Adjustment Counselor who services both buildings.

Grade Level Leaders – In the past, there were Grade Level Leaders (one per grade) who were classroom teachers that received small stipends in exchange for handling grade level administrative tasks.

Additional Comments:

  • Funding has not kept pace with changing needs of the school and our students. For example: WES/MHS cannot staff Interventional Specialists to help provide instruction to students who do not qualify for special education services, but need additional support in areas like reading and math. Money is no longer available to allocate equitable funding across grades for curriculum materials and other supplies; teachers are left to create curriculum that supports math requirements, use of technology, and new science standards largely on their own without adequate professional development training and support.
  • PTO funding helps supplement costs that are not being met. For example, the Westminster PTO donated $10,000 for MHS playground repairs in December 2016. One year the PTO funded all school supplies when general supply budget was cut to zero dollars.

Briggs Elementary School

Position Cuts for 2016-2017

2 full-time classroom teacher positions cut.

  • K—3 sections of 71 students (class size now 23-24)
  • 1—4 sections of 75 students (class size now 17-19)
  • 2—4 sections of 88 students (class size now 22)
  • 3—3 sections of 86 students (class size now 29)
  • 4—4 sections of 87 students (class size now 20-22)
  • 5—3 sections of 71 students (class size now 22-24)

Past Cuts and Other Considerations

Special Education Teachers – 15 years ago there was a special education teacher at each grade level except kindergarten, now there are 3 special educators shared between grade levels.

School Adjustment Counselor – One position was eliminated in early 2000s and that position has not been reinstated. There are two counselors in the building but one is designated for the entire school population and one is tied to a program and services only children in that program.

Paraprofessionals – There are no floating paras in the building; all are assigned to a program: Partnership for Progress, BEST, Stepping Stones Preschool, Learning Tree Preschool, kindergarten and recess paras. There are 30 paras in the building right now.

Budget in General:

  • State funding has not kept up with fixed costs, (heating, health insurance increases, etc.).
  • Keeping class size at as reasonable a number as possible has been a focus, it is a priority to focus efforts into hiring teachers for grades with high class sizes.
  • Approx. 10 years ago there was a big cut in the district due to state funding, (vice principal position cut, paras, special education teachers). For 5 years after those big cuts, Westminster Elementary Schools and Briggs shared a vice principal. Due to Ed Reform and changes in mandates regarding teacher and paraprofessional observation, a shared vice principal between the elementary schools in the district was not working and a vice principal was hired for Briggs in 2014.
  • Most line items on Briggs budget are fixed: salary, custodial contracts, custodial supplies. There are approximately 9 items on budget list that are building-based. Those line items amount to $45,000 in total (not enough to hire a teacher) and include: general supplies, math supplies, ELA supplies, nurses supplies, music and band supplies, post office supplies, consumables like math and reading workbooks, and books for the library.
  • Vendors have been negotiated with for savings.
  • Custodial Staff- There were three full-time custodians in 1999, one head custodian and two night custodians. In the early 2000s. one custodial position was cut. That position was reinstated when we moved into the new building. Briggs now has four custodians, three paid out of district funds and one paid out of Extended Day funds.

Needs

  • Additional Teachers (return to manageable class sizes)
    • K (large class size expected info gained from town census)
    • 5th grade- additional teacher, current 4th grade class is large
    • 3rd grade teacher- current 2nd grade has large class size
  • More materials for Math and Science