Key Elements Include Contract Obligations,
Spending On Utilities
April 3, 2006
By RACHEL GOTTLIEB, Courant Staff Writer
Hartford Superintendent of Schools
Robert Henry is proposing a 3.2 percent increase in the education
budget for fiscal year 2006-07.
The proposed package would increase
spending by $6.6 million, bringing the general budget to $215.9
A few categories account for most of the increase.
Utilities spending is expected to rise
by $1.13 million, or 13 percent; instructional supplies and textbooks
by nearly $1 million, or 19 percent; and transportation by $1.5
million. About $2.6 million of the budget increase is for contracted
The district also would pay nearly
$400,000 to take over management of the buildings on the Learning
Corridor campus from the Capitol Region Education Council.
New positions in the budget, which
takes effect July 1, include four security guards to work at schools
that have been enlarged to include middle school students, one new
full-time and one part-time social worker. Four part-time assistant
principals would gofull time.
The district also would add 39 new
positions for teachers and other staff at new or growing magnet
schools, but salaries for those jobs would be covered by state and
federal grants, said Julio Molleda, the district's executive director
Molleda said officials were able to
hold the total budget request to a modest figure because the district
has more than doubled the amount of state, federal and private grants
in its coffers in recent years.
In 2000, for example, the district
had about $45 million in grants, said Sandra Cruz-Serrano, senior
adviser to the superintendent. But this year, the district pulled
in $97 million in grants.
Grant funding takes pressure off the
general budget by paying for the entire preschool program, 75 percent
of the kindergarten program, a bevy of reading and math coaches
to help classroom teachers, violence prevention specialists, attendance
case workers, many of the classroom aides who help special education
students, all of the family resource aides, summer school, after-school
tutoring and classroom programs, some books, some computers, training
for teachers, food services and most of the cost of magnet schools,
If he had included his wish list in
the budget, Henry said, he would have increased spending on technology
for classrooms - computers, digital white boards connected to laptops
to replace blackboards, and other equipment. And he said he would
have hired more teachers in order to reduce class size.
Henry has resigned as superintendent
effective at the end of June. But he said that next year, if the
new superintendent sticks to the plan to break up the biggest high
schools into small schools sharing the same building, then the budget
request will include many new positions. The idea is to have small
classes and special themes. Each would have its own principal.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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