Milford schools

Milford Schools Budget for ‘Wants Against Needs’ Case


MILFORD – The Education Council has approved a 2021-2022 budget that members say meets the needs of the city’s students, but pushes back most of their desires.

“I think the administration had to make some tough choices,” said board chair Susan Glennon. “I am convinced that this administration knows what is needed.”

The board of trustees decided in a 9-1 vote last month to approve the school superintendent Anna Cutaia’s $ 99.7 million proposal. It’s a decision-making board member that Andrew Fowler opposed, citing a continuing trend of rising costs and declining enrollment projections.

“Next year we could be here (over) $ 100 million,” he said. “It is important for future boards to have honest and hard conversations and to tackle the problem, but not at the expense of the students and their well-being.

Board member Adam De Young also expressed disappointment with the budget, but for a different reason. De Young dismissed the idea that the budget was financially responsible, instead calling it a “budget conservative” and saying that shouldn’t be the board’s mission.

“We were sent here to invest in our children,” he said. “We need to keep this in mind as we continue to look at future budgets.”

De Young said now is apparently never the time to invest in education.

“I have been a member of the board of directors for four years, and for four years I have heard that economic times are very difficult,” he said. “There is no doubt that our city and our residents face challenges, but it is also imperative that we educate our children and invest in our children, and it is essential that we do so. “

Fowler was the only vote against passing Cutaia’s budget.

The budget the board approved represents a 2.25 percent increase over the current year.

“This budget represents hopes and dreams for our students and staff that were not realized in the 2020-2021 school year due to the need to put things on hold due to our district’s response to the pandemic crisis, ”Cutaia wrote in her budget letter.

“Many program enhancements and new initiatives have been postponed due to unforeseen costs of opening schools under strict health and safety guidelines due to COVID-19,” Cutaia wrote. . “This proposal continues to move our school district forward with essential program improvements while taking into account the economic conditions our community faces.”

The budget proposal includes funds to expand the world languages ​​program to third year, which means Milford students now have a four-year elementary program (K-3). Cutaia also included funding for upgrading the district science curriculum and science labs at elementary and secondary school levels.

But like the current budget, next year’s proposal also pushes back many improvements, Cutaia wrote.

“The renovation of the Foran school library will have to be carried out but will be suspended and will probably require two phases of work,” she wrote. “As with Jonathan Law’s library, we plan to make it a 21st century learning space to better meet the learning needs of students.

The 2021-22 budget also delays the addition of green screens for video productions in elementary schools, cameras and camcorders for journalism, art and business classes in high schools, interactive billboards for district-wide art and music programs and college and high school curriculum reviews. high school language arts, elementary school orientation programs, college health, elementary school literacy and social studies, and middle school career education.

Glennon, in her own comments to city leaders in Milford, said she hoped the postponed programs would materialize in the years to come.

“The council is determined to believe that we must continue our momentum to become a forward-thinking district aligned with the expectations of 21st century learning, even if it must be in small increments for now,” she said. writing. “We believe this budget proposal accomplishes that and demonstrates a balance between fiscal responsibility and support for basic education programs while responding to the unique situation we find ourselves in.”

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