Click here for a link to the proposed budget, then select the link that reads "Superintendent's Recommended Budget for FY 2012-2012. The proposed budget represents a 4.82% increase over last year's budget. However, Budget Chairman Ted Raczka called it a "roll-over budget," meaning that other than contractual increases, budget amounts remain at the same level as last year. Raczka was also quick to add that the budget is a work in progress, and that he hopes members of the public will follow the process and advocate for a budget that meets the needs of Middletown students. BOE Chairman Gene Nocera commented that this year and next would be a difficult budget cycle and that he hoped to navigate the next two years with great concern for preventing staff lay-offs: "That would disastrous for our district and our programs," Nocera added.
Recent events at Farm Hill Elementary School completely overshadowed this evening's budget vote. Fourteen different parents and/or concerned Middletown residents spoke to the board about behavioral issues at Farm Hill. Over and over parents commented about the lack of information about what was happening while expressing a combined frustration at the perceived lack of resources or ability to handle behavioral problems. Superintendent Michael Frechette presented a report to the BOE about what resources have been available to Farm Hill and what new resources are coming as part of an expanded plan on how to address the concerns raised. At Farm Hill's upcoming Thursday (1/12/12) PTA meeting, Dr. Frechette will be meeting with the PTA to explain what is happening. Frechette will hold a similar meeting with Farm Hill teachers and staff on Friday (1/13/12). This EYE reporter was also told that several BOE members plan to attend the PTA meeting as well.
Additional information will be available as this week progresses, so check back for an update on this topic.