Public hearing planned on New London education budget debate

March 2, 2012 by  

New London residents will have an opportunity to share their concerns and ask questions about the financial state of the local school district next week. A public hearing will be held Thursday March 8 to further discuss the proposed Board of Education budget for New London schools.

The school district says it will have to cut staff, services and programming by 10 percent unless the City Council agrees to allocate an additional $3.2 million for the upcoming 2012-13 school year. The board is not likely to get its request if history repeats itself. The City Council has rejected increases in the school board’s proposed budgets for four years in a row.

The latest request boils down to a 6 percent budget hike from the current $39.8 million annual budget. Anything less will force the school district to reduce an already overworked staff, explained Board of Education Chairman William Morse. Additional staffing cuts will seriously jeopardize the progress seen in math and reading, Morse warned.

Most the the staffing positions could remain if the council approves the new budget proposal, according Superintendent of Schools Nicholas A. Fischer. Fischer urged school officials to speak out about the urgency of the districts monetary needs if they expect council support. The council must understand that the public favors a budget increase, added Fischer.

Petitions could be run off by printing companies to gather signatures as proof that citizens generally support the education budget increase. The board plans to officially submit its budget to the city by March 15.