New Board of Ed Members Eager for Superintendent's Budget Proposal

Tonight's presentation comes on the heels of a tough mayoral campaign in which all three candidates spoke of improving education for Middletown's public schools.

Middletown Superintendent of Schools Michael Frechette will present his 2012-2013 fiscal year budget at tonight’s Board of Education meeting.

As one of five new members on the Board, Ed McKeon is hoping for inclusion of a couple of items left out of the city’s school spending plan last year, but acknowledges he’s new to the game.

“This is my first budget, so it’s kind of a learning curve,” McKeon says.

Last December, Frechette put forth for the 2011-12 year. In June, the Board approved a reduced budget of $70.75 million.

McKeon says he’d like to see “relief for teachers for lunch and recess duty. Last year, the cut back on duty aides so the teachers have to do it. That means their planning time is cut back. On certain days, some teachers don’t even have a break,” he explains.

The elimination of duty aides saved the city $82,880 in 2011-2012.

McKeon says he’d also like to see enough funds to give teachers raises.

“The budget has been flat for the past three to five years, which means we actually have gone backward,” McKeon says.

During the city’s mayoral campaign, all three candidates focused on improving the quality of education for Middletown’s students.

McKeon acknowledges this, like many before it, is “a very tight budget year.”

“The mayor campaigned on the promise of improving education; and before him, the governor campaigned on the promise of improving education,” McKeon says. He’s hopeful that momentum will translate into more dollars spent on city schools.

“We may see some ability to move forward a little bit, he says.

“City hall and the superintendent are now talking on a regular basis, so there is communication” taking place, McKeon says.

Late last month, Drew announced he had to the labor dispute which arose from Board of Ed staff working at the Middletown High School shelter during October's snowstorm.

“The general hope is that there will be more money to put toward the classroom,” he says.

Also on the agenda is news about Middletown High School's assistant principal. Former Middletown High Assistant Principal Andrew T. O'Brien was hired as principal in late November at Nonnewaug High School, Regional School District 14, Woodbury.

The meeting is at 7 p.m. at Middletown City Hall Council Chambers.


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