The borough’s public school system is one of 30 “Alliance Districts” the state has made eligible for additional funding through an increase to the annual Education Cost Sharing grant. To get the money, the borough must fill out an application showing how it would be spent on reforms to improve student achievement.
The most recent draft submitted to the state proposes to spend more than $552,000 on elementary school counselors and technology literacy teachers, English and math curriculum training and program materials. Of that allocation, $427,000 would come from the state and the borough would pay nearly $125,000 for position benefits and professional development.
School principals and Board of Education members have for years requested full-time counselors for elementary schools. According to the grant application, almost 47 percent of borough students receive free and reduced lunch.
“Principals report that along with this increase they are seeing a steady increase in the number of office referrals primarily to address social and emotional issues,” administrators wrote.
School administrators are also asking for almost $95,000 to replace staff who choose to enter a leadership internship program and to develop a new teacher evaluation document. The school board would pay more than $19,000 in benefits for the new staff.
Almost $93,000 is being sought for a program that would extend the school day for struggling students, allowing them more time to work on skills. The school board would spend an additional $36,000 on tutor salaries.
Finally, administrators are asking for $20,000 to continue funding the Discovery program and parent and teacher workshops to align preschool programs with the kindergarten curriculum.
Administrators identified Cross Street Intermediate, Naugatuck High and Western and Maple Hill elementary schools as high-performing schools that require the least oversight, according to the draft application. City Hill Middle, Hillside Intermediate and Salem, Andrew Avenue and Hop Brook elementary schools require some interventions, according to the application. Central Avenue Elementary School, which the Board of Education decided in April to close, was the only borough school the state had marked for intensive intervention.
Under the Alliance District program, the borough can get $635,149 annually for the next five years from the state. Waterbury is eligible for almost $4.4 million a year, while Winchester can get about $207,000 per year.
Applications were due Aug. 15, but the state has ordered some changes to the borough’s proposal, said Superintendent of Schools John Tindall-Gibson.