Letter: With community support, Westport schools received reasonable budget

Message from the superintendent on Westport Community Schools website …

Dear parents, guardians, and community members:

I remember four years ago, coming to you to ask for additional funding for our programs so we would not have to cut staff. Then for the last two budget seasons, we did just that on the heels of the failed proposition 2 ½ override vote.

Since then, we have built special education programs that fit the needs of our students and that we continue to adjust.  Even though we had to cut staff, the reward was that we were able to get training for our teachers, plus materials and technology for our programs, with the saving generated by SPED.

This year, we asked the schools to tell us their needs and again, they asked for staff to replace those we had cut from the regular education classrooms and programs. However, we were only able to meet the needs of our current programs, increase to full time the staff we had reduced to part time, and provide some summer programming. The regular education staff will have to wait until the next budget cycle, but this year we will not have to send out pink slips because of the budget.

We have in this year’s budget enough to have materials for our programs, enough to keep our staff, enough to provide for summer school services, enough to meet the demands of mandates, and even enough to reduce fees by a small amount for sports and transportation.

It is too early to start pushing for next year’s need to reduce class size and to get the town some help with the cost of their services through an override.  We will save that for another day.  For now, I just want to thank the Board of Selectmen, the Finance Committee, and the School Committee for their support in presenting the town with a budget that at least allows us to meet the needs of the schools. I absolutely want to thank those who gave up a night to be at town meeting to vote – you are the town – Thank you!

Dr. Carlos M. Colley

Superintendent of Westport Community Schools

 

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