BOE approves final 2019-20 budget; 2.43% increase

By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

The Plainville Board of Education held a special meeting on Tuesday, May 28 to finalize the reduction of $100,000 from their budget, as well as some realized savings from this school year’s budget freeze.

After two referendums, the BOE budget was approved in the amount of $38,229,105, a 2.43 percent increase from the current budget ($37,329,912).

Of the proposed items to be cut, superintendent Dr. Maureen Brummett, said that for “legal reasons and for student service reasons” the position of an autism teacher “needed to stay.” But, in order to “make that not the full cost of a teacher,” Brummett’s staff is recommending that the board not fill a behavioral technician position at Plainville High School. Between those two sources, she explained, is a cut of $27,546.

The reduction of a hearing-impaired teacher to three-quarters full-time would save approximately $22,000, and Brummett said that some of those services would be reallocated to “other providers like speech pathologists.”

An additional social studies teacher will be hired in an effort to reduce class sizes. Brummett’s staff recommended hiring a half-time literacy tutor at the Wheeler Elementary School, for an approximate savings of $15,000.

“There’d be a reduction of $2,400 in benefits by not hiring people at full-time positions or other reductions,” said Brummett.

From there, approximately $10,000 would still need to be cut from the textbooks and supplies line item, largely due to postponing the purchase of new AP math textbooks.

The board unanimously approved that the realized savings of $130,000 in the current school year budget, due to a budget freeze implemented in December, should be used in this school year to prepay for diesel fuel for school buses ($65,000), to begin work on a secure entrance at Plainville High School ($25,000), and prepay legal fees for the upcoming school year ($40,000). Brummett said that legal costs could be more as fees increase, but the increase is a fair approximation based on current projections.

The board unanimously approved the prioritization of hiring the Wheeler literacy tutor as a full time position, reinstating the behavior technician at Plainville High School, accounting for benefits for both positions, putting the position of assistant superintendent out to bid with the understanding that the position would have a delayed hire until about Sept., and to reconvene as a board to make further allocations after getting more information regarding the Teachers Retirement Board and the Education Cost Sharing Grant numbers.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at TMurchison@BristolObserver.com.