, two members of the Board of Education and several members of the public said they wanted to bring back freshman sports.
“I was extremely disappointed that we didn’t bring back freshman sports, and there is money in this budget,” said Board of Finance member Mark Wiggins, who attended the workshop. “In the words of Larry the Cable Guy, Git-R-Done.”
of 2011 by the Board of Education facing a tight budget, the group cut freshman basketball for boys and girls, freshman softball and freshman baseball for this school year. The group did not cut freshman football because there is no town team to accommodate that age for football, where there is for baseball, softball and basketball.
The cut saved the district about $26,000, which saved the average taxpayer $1.88 in their tax bill, Finance Director Rudie Beers said. Board of Education member Jody Nazarchyk suggested cutting the Board of Education’s membership to the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, a group that lobbies the state government on behalf of education boards, which would save just under $17,000.
“I’m not saying we never rejoin CABE, but we at least hold off until we can get back on our feet,” Nazarchyk said. “I firmly believe freshman sports should be part of our program.”
Board of Education member Kevin Brunelle and former RTM member Paul Goldstein both said they also wanted freshman sports back.
Why It’s Not In The Budget
For the budget workshop, Superintendent Jerome Belair presented a spending plan that was more than $800,000 below the amount allotted by the . However, the budget has a flat allocation for health care because health care costs have not yet come in, and they are expected to rise, Belair said.
Just as an example, last year health care costs increased $1.6 million. If the board presents a budget with everything people want in it and then health insurance comes in high, it could all be cut again, Belair said.
“We didn’t want to create false hope,” he said. “When we get a firm number we can go back and have some of those discussions.”
The board should get the health care costs by March 1, Belair said.
Meanwhile, Board of Education Chairwoman Kathleen McCarty is trying to get companies to donate money to help fund athletics, along with other programs. Recently, the Board of Education Policy Committee that would make it easier for the District to collect gifts from private donors.
“We are actively pursuing it,” she said. “We hope to get this done soon.”