By Kim Becker
Dr. Alan Addley, Superintendent of Granby schools, presented the annual Plus One Budget to the Board of Education. This document provides a five-year outlook at the priorities the administration wants to implement, sustain or expand, as well as estimates of annual budget increases to support the schools, students and staff.
Although all the board members agreed that the budget priorities align with the goals they set for the administration, strong disagreement surfaced over budget increases. Five members of the board want to send the Plus One Budget to the three-board meeting with a zero percent increase instead of the .5 percent increase Addley requested. This increase represents $140,000 in an almost $29 million budget.
Melissa Migliaccio, vice chair of the board, felt that taxpayers had been promised savings by closing Kearns and that asking for any increase would send the wrong message. Rosemarie Weber agreed and asked for time to reflect on the programs that have been implemented over the past several years to see if they are truly effective before continuing or expanding them.
The minority of members felt that the community understood that some portion of the savings would be reinvested in the schools. For example, teachers’ salaries in Granby have fallen almost to the bottom of the DRG, causing serious concerns for retention and recruitment of seasoned educators. Additionally, the new high school classes such as robotics and AP music history support the direction that the District has been moving in for some time. These members wanted to see some of the savings reinvested in “value added” areas such as STEAM to benefit students and keep people coming to Granby. Addley agreed with this view, saying that he promised the community that there would not be a decrease in services or education level with the reconfiguration.
Ron Walther, board chairman, had the last word, siding with those who wanted no increase for next year. He asked that Addley change the Plus One Budget to reflect a zero percent increase. Addley said he would likely move both the high school literacy coach and the special education consultant to the unfunded FY17 items list. The board will continue to discuss the Plus One Budget and next fiscal year’s budget throughout February and March.