Board dealing with cut in Alliance grant

NAUGATUCK — For the first time since the state began awarding grants to Alliance Districts in 2012, Naugatuck saw a decrease in its funding.

Naugatuck’s grant was cut about $400,000 from what the district was promised, bringing the grant to about $1.23 million this fiscal year. The funding initiative was started by the state to aid Alliance Districts, or the 30 lowest-performing public school systems.

Naugatuck uses the grant for various purposes, including three instruction coaches, five reading consultants, 3.5 school counselor positions, the director of curriculum, summer school, the extended learning program at Naugatuck High School, and textbooks and curriculum material, according to Assistant Superintendent of Schools Christopher Montini.

The loss in funding will mean less money for professional development and textbooks, Montini said.

“We reduced spending but did not have to cut programs directly related to students,” Montini said.

The district was allowed to carry over $272,000 from unspent money from last year’s grant, which means the reductions are minimal this year, Montini said. The district will also use money it receives from the borough to help offset the cost of the textbooks it was planning on purchasing, he added.

Montini said the funding cut was unprecedented because the district received either flat funding or an increase in the Alliance Grant since the grant was introduced four years ago.

The Board of Education may be getting no funds under the grant next year. This is the final year for the grant unless state lawmakers extend the initiative.

“We had a very difficult state budget. We don’t know what next year will have in store,” Montini said.