A look ahead – what to expect from Naugatuck schools in 2011

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Naugatuck Schools

Senior Kaitlyn Fiorenzi, front, practices a dance for the Naugatuck pep rally. - FILE PHOTO

New Year, new budget

The primary goal for the Board of Education going into 2011 is to get the budget done, according to Board Chair Kathleen Donovan. The board will start out by accessing what funding it has and what funding it will get from the state, she said. Although it’s going to be another tight year, Donovan hopes they won’t have to cut any more positions.

Board of Education Secretary David Heller said he was concerned that a new governor may mean cuts or reductions in education.

“That would be a big problem for us because we rely on a lot of that funding,” Heller said.

With the federal bailout currently propping up schools scheduled to run out in 2011, the Board of Education needs to look for other sources of funding, he said.

A new administrator contract the board recently approved will help with the budget as administrators agreed not to take a raise next year. However, they are scheduled to receive a raise for each of the following two years. The board needs to start preparing for a new teachers contract for 2012, Heller said.

Working towards goals

The board will continue to work towards the goals it outline for 2007-2010 and begin developing new goals for the future.

The board has already achieved its goals to improve early childhood education by expanding HeadStart and starting a full day kindergarten.

“We’re very proud of that,” Donovan said.

Planning for the long-term

Hillside Middle School - FILE PHOTO

The recently-formed long-term educational planning committee will continue looking at possible sites for a new school and possible upgrades to existing schools. The committee was formed to identify and prepare for the district’s needs over the next 10 to 20 years. The committee plans to seek input from residents, including parents, teachers, and administrators.

Administrators prepare for new state mandates

The state is rolling out a big high school reform program for 2012 to include new graduation and course requirements. Administrators are working to prepare for that now, according to Heller.

“If you’re going to have to have additional language courses or additional math courses, it affects our staffing,” he said.

The school might have to add staff and create new courses to comply with new regulations, he said.

Upcoming elections

With a number of Board of Education members not running for reelection, new faces will mean changes for the board in the coming year, according to Heller.

Superintendent John Tindall-Gibson retiring

Tindall-Gibson

The second half of the year, the board will start its search to replace Superintendent John Tindall-Gibson, who is retiring in June 2012. It is important for the board to find a high quality, enthusiastic, hard working individual to run the schools, Heller said.

“He drives the whole educational system,” he said.