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Weston school board reviews schools’ budgets

Weston Public SchoolsAt a workshop on Tuesday, Jan. 15, the Weston Board of Education reviewed the proposed budgets for each of the town’s four schools for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

In a workshop the night before, Superintendent Colleen Palmer announced an overall proposed budget of $46.29 million, which is $706,476 more than the current budget — a 1.55% increase.

For all four schools, the largest component driving each budget increase is contractual general wage increases for staff.

Hurlbutt Elementary School

Hurlbutt Elementary School is requesting a 0.72% budget increase over the current year.

The district is predicting a decline in enrollment at the school from 435 to 399 — a total of 36 fewer students — one more in kindergarten, 40 fewer in first grade, and three more in second grade.

There are currently 29.65 certified staff members in the budget. Based on the enrollment projection, the 2013-14 budget calls for cutting the equivalent of one teacher.

To achieve that, two full-time grade one teachers would be cut, and one full-time grade two teacher position would be added.

Other staff decreases would be a 0.06 art teacher, 0.14 physical education/health teacher, 0.10 music teacher, and 0.04 world language teacher.

There would be a 0.20 increase for a reading teacher.

Average class size is expected to be 19.3 students for kindergarten classes, 19.5 for first grade, and 20.8 for second grade.

Weston Intermediate School

The intermediate school is requesting a 2.79% budget increase over the current year.

The district is predicting a decline in enrollment at the school from 543 to 540 — a total of three fewer students — 14 fewer in third grade, no change fourth grade, and 11 more in fifth grade.

There are currently 35.72 certified staff members in the budget. There is a proposed 0.20 increase for reading support, and no proposed staffing decreases.

Average class size is expected to be 20.8 students for third grade, 23.0 for fourth grade, and 23.8 for fifth grade.

The school is also seeking $3,858 to add an after school enrichment program.

Weston Middle School

The middle school is requesting a 0.51% budget increase over the current year.

The district is predicting a decline in enrollment at the school from 636 to 609 — 27 fewer students.

There are currently 46.98 certified staff members in the budget. The proposed budget would shave the equivalent of 1.45 positions.

Because of declining enrollment, there would be decreases in core subject classroom teachers: 0.40 English, 0.20 math, 0.20 science, and 0.20 social studies. There would also be a 0.10 decrease in a world language teacher, and a 0.35 decrease in a health and physical education teacher.

Average class size is expected to be 20 students for sixth grade, 21.9 for seventh grade, and 21 for eighth grade.

The school is also seeking $33,000 for the fifth year of its classroom furniture replacement plan, $2,438 for a tenor saxophone, $575 for a six-unit cello rack, and $1,200 for a stationary bike.

Weston High School

The high school is requesting a 1.56% budget increase over the current year.

The district is predicting an increase in enrollment of one student, going from 772 to 773.

There are currently 56.40 certified staff members in the budget. The proposed budget would shave a 0.20 position for NEASC (New England Association of Schools and Colleges) support, because the NEASC study is set to be completed this year. The school is also removing $30,000 from its budget that had been allocated for that study.

The school is also seeking $10,710 for flexible furniture for the library/media center, $2,775 for hosting the China sister program, $2,250 for a paper cutter and hand-held stabilizer for the Videography department, and $2,000 for a treadmill.

The school board is meeting Thursday, Jan. 24, in the Weston Public Library to vote to approve a budget to send to the Board of Selectmen.

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