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Board of Ed Drops Mandarin, Police to Delay SRO Hires

Board of Ed and police adjust to final budget revisions before Tuesday's Annual Town Meeting.

Brookfield registered voters and property owners are called to the Annual Town Meeting Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. in the Brookfield High School (BHS) auditorium to set the date and question(s) for the budget referendum.

The Board of Finance (BOF) , including $120,000 from education spending and  $60,000 from police department salaries. The proposal works out to a 3.93 percent spending increase over 2012-13 and a tentative 3.5 percent increase to the mill rate.

The police department will be able to adjust to the cuts by postponing the hiring and training of the two School Resource Officers (SROs) until closer to the school year or by putting off back-filling the positions within the department, according to Maj. Jay Purcell, though the officers might not be a presence in the schools from the first day in September.

Purcell said Monday that the department has to wait to see about retirements and other areas before being able to finalize a plan.

The Board of Education (BOE) deliberated on how to adjust for the cuts over two meetings since the BOF met, ultimately deciding to forego instituting Mandarin in the World Language program this year.

The school administration was able to adjust to some of the decrease with $13,000 in savings from a new fuel oil contract and $35,000 in retirements, however that still left a sizeable amount with few areas left to cut.

“Mandarin was really the number,” BOE member Scott McCarthy said, stating that the board looked at other possibilities, such as pension contribution, but felt that “being fiscally responsibly is certainly more important.”

McCarthy said the board is focused on Mandarin to replace Italian as the third World Language in the program, however without sufficient funding and the Language Lab, removed from the capital budget, it will have to wait at least one more year.

“It’s something we’ll have to prioritize in the future,” he said, adding that “Mandarin is certainly the right language.”

Residents will have the opportunity to ask questions about the proposed budget, set the date for referendum, split the municipal and education budgets into two questions and reduce single line items by vote at Tuesday’s meeting.

Steven DeVaux May 08, 2013 at 12:59 AM
Whatever you do, don't drink the water without testing it first!!! Mandarin is available to anyone interested with Rosetta Stone. The State Department in Washington DC uses it because the cost of teachers to teach it is prohibitive.
Steven DeVaux May 08, 2013 at 01:03 AM
Art, Pennsylvania has Cyber high schools where students take the courses over the internet just like Phoenix University offers and their student success rate is astoundingly good as the students enjoy it. The Khan Academy also offers numerous collaborative courses. The days of "not invented here" are long gone due to cost prohibitions. Distance learning as now simply moved to another platform but the powerful teachers lobby in Brookfield prevents students from engaging in the pleura of venues for learning everything because they meaure "seat time" and not "think time".
Steven DeVaux May 08, 2013 at 01:04 AM
The didn't decrease the budget. They decreased the Super Sized budget increase. In doing so they may have knocked off the cost of one referendum....something Newtown didn't do.
Ray DiStephan May 08, 2013 at 11:09 AM
Hello Art, Thanks for the thoughtful comments and questions. The Distance Learning program lost momentum because schools could not agree on a compatible daily schedule and yearly calendar.One year one school pulled out and the next year another school pulled out until it just became no longer viable. We had a full class of students as we provided the teacher, but other districts had much fewer students. It became very difficult to provide student support outside of the classroom. I am doubtful that any schools use this format any longer as online/virtual high schools have replaced this older format. I hope that helps.
BuckWheat May 08, 2013 at 05:49 PM
Gotta love the internet. https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/527289-brookfield.html

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