Tuesday night, the Shelton School Board approved the District’s budget for the 2020-2021 school year that included a reduction in staff. .
The School Board passed two resolutions: Resolution No. 20-06 which establishes a Reduced Education Program and Resolution No. 20-07 which adopts the budget.
Resolution No. 20-06 explains District revenues are “insufficient to maintain current staffing levels” due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the uncertainty of enrollment and federal, state and local funding.
The Reduced Education Program shows how the District cut over $7 Million from its budget by reducing staff to include nearly 30 FTE para-educators, 20 bus drivers, eight custodians, nearly eight FTE secretaries, five from food service, two mechanics, the Aquatic Director by half FTE and canceling coaching stipends due to lack of work.
There is a paragraph in the resolution that allows the Superintendent to “forgo any of the cuts” if additional funding sources are found. The Superintendent is also authorized to explore “other alternatives to layoff as may be financially appropriate.”
The Shelton School District received dozens of emails and comments about the budget and reduction in staff prior to taking action. All emails and comments are part of the August 25, 2020 school board meeting’s record with most being read during Tuesday’s virtual public meeting and hearing. Most comments voiced concerns about the reduction in staff during the pandemic, questioned why certain administrative staff positions were left in place, asked about shared work instead of layoffs, wanted the District to look at a different online education service, voiced concerns about the District’s Dual Language program, complained about the Superintendent’s salary, and some threatened to recall the school board.
School board members explained that they have been meeting weekly with District staff since the beginning of the pandemic to discuss how to balance the budget with limited information from state and federal officials. The Shelton School District needed to approve a budget by the end of August.
Toward the end of the nearly four-hour meeting, Superintendent Dr. Alex Apostle summarized the challenges in the budget and said Tuesday night’s meeting was one of the most difficult board meetings he has experienced.
The resolutions are available on the District’s website: https://www.sheltonschools.org/.
Here is Tuesday, August 25, 2020 Shelton School Board meeting: