The following is a letter Interim Superintendent Richard Kisiel sent to Manchester Public Schools staff Wednesday, March 13 2013 detailing his proposed reductions to the 2013-14 school budget. Kisiel's full list of items to be reduced in the upcoming school budget is also attached to this article:
On Monday evening, I presented, at the request of the Board of Education, a list of potential budget reductions to reach the General Manager’s proposed budget increase for the Board of Education of 3.1%. This proposal would require a reduction to the Board of Education’s recommended budget by $2,465,406 or 2.4%. I attached to this email my power point presentation that provides the specific list and details of the potential reductions.
I emphasize “potential reductions” since nothing is final until the Board of Directors eventually approves a Board of Education budget figure. However, the Board of Directors has typically reduced the General Manger’s recommended budget for the Board of Education. So, if history repeats itself, there is a distinct possibility that the Board of Education budget could be less than 3.1%.
To put the budget picture in some perspective, the Board of Education will need a budget increase of 3% just to pay salaries for all employees next year. The Board asked me to present this list of budget reductions before the Board of Directors made its decision on the BOE budget in an effort to convey to our parents and the rest of the community the dire impact of these budget reductions on programs, services, and eventually our staff and students. We have normally prepared this list of reductions after the Board of Directors made its decision on the BOE budget in mid to late April.
Financing our schools is at a tipping point. We cannot reduce the achievement gap without the resources to support our teachers and students in the classroom. An average budget increase of less than 1.5% for each of the past four years and a funding level considerably less than inflation, places our school district on disastrous precipice. Funding programs and reform initiatives through an Alliance Grant supports our efforts to reduce the achievement gap, but this grant cannot pay the operational costs of running a school district day to day. Unless our parents and community come forward to challenge inadequacy and fatality of this 3.1% budget increase, the lists of reductions that I shared with Board and perhaps others will become reality.
The Board and I understand the stress that this kind of news places on all of you, and particularly anyone who might be affected by these budget reductions. We know that it doesn’t make the job of teaching and working each day any easier because it is distracting, confusing, and upsetting. The Board of Education and I truly regret the unsettledness that you may be experiencing. We pledge to do everything we can to exert our influence to persuade the elected officials in Manchester that it is time to adequately fund the Board of Education budget.
NOTE: The Board of Directors’ public hearing on the town budget will now be held Thursday, March13 2013 at the Waddell Elementary School at 7:00 p.m.