State OKs extra funds for Naugatuck schools

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The Naugatuck Board of Education discusses the grant the district received from the state for being one of 30 Alliance Districts during its meeting Sept. 13 at Andrew Avenue Elementary School. The district received more than $635,000 to pay for various programs and positions. -LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — Extra state funding will help the Naugatuck school system pay for teacher evaluations, guidance counselors, and internship programs, but not a computer literacy teacher.

Naugatuck received more than $635,000 because it was identified by the state as one of 30 Alliance Districts, which are districts with the lowest district performance index scores statewide.

The state, which controls how much money a district can receive and what it can be used for, informed the district that much of what it wanted to use the money for would not be supported.

“The process is very controlled by the state. They have certain things in mind they were looking for,” Superintendent of Schools John Tindall-Gibson said.

He said that, if the district wanted the money, it had to fill out the application with items that the state was willing to fund. He explained that the district went through four different versions of the application before the state accepted it.

After redoing its application, the district only had 22 percent of the money going towards items that it had originally applied for, which paid for a part-time guidance counselor in each elementary school.

The remaining 78 percent of money was allocated towards a writing program, partnership with Discovery Education, the creation of teacher and administrator evaluation documents, summer school program for English Language Arts for incoming first, second, and third graders, busing costs for intermediate and middle school afterschool English language arts and math programs, and the administrator internship program.

Assistant Superintendent of Schools Bridget Crispino explained that the administrator internship program is for teachers that are interested in becoming administrators and hold the correct certification.

Teachers can apply for it, work as an administrative assistant for a year, and have their positions held by another teacher for the year.

“The grant will pay the salary for one year for that replacement teacher,” Crispino said.

The state wouldn’t pay for a computer literacy teacher through the grant. Crispino explained that Business Manager Wayne McAllister was able to find money in the budget to keep that position.

Not everyone was pleased with the new items that were included in the Alliance District grant. School board member James Scully felt that the money spent on the internship program and on teacher evaluations was not as well spent as it could be. He felt that it was more important to spend it on items that directly impact the students.

“I like boots in the room,” said Scully during the board’s Sept. 13 meeting.

Mayor Bob Mezzo disagreed, saying that he felt the evaluations were important to make sure the district had the best teachers possible in all of the positions.

Board of Education Chairman David Heller felt the evaluations were an important use of the funds.

“The evaluations are so important because we want to have the best teachers standing in front of that class room and because of union rules and the way things have been done in the past, that doesn’t always happen. The formulation and effort that’s been going onto reevaluating this whole teacher evaluation process is a wonderful thing,” Heller said.