$140,000 more to hire city teachers
MANCHESTER - Members of the Board of School Committee squeezed another $140,000 for teachers out of the school district budget Thursday night.
The board approved a spending plan for the $152,217,000 allocated to the schools by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. It also approved allocations for the $2.3 million that will be spent on the schools from money in the district's expendable trusts.
The votes mean 80 school workers who had been given layoff notices will still have a job after July 1.
To come up with the $140,000, the committee cut $58,428 from a contingency fund, and another $82,559 earmarked to bus students to charter schools.
Committee members left it to Superintendent Thomas Brennan to decide what positions will be restored, but made it clear the money should be spent to rehire teachers. The cut is expected to save two or three jobs.
Originally the committee also cut a $41,000 interpretative tutor, but restored the money after learning that the position was required as part of a special education plan for a blind student.
In cutting the money for busing students to charter schools, the school board put the district on a potential collision course with the state.
Lawmakers in Concord passed a law in the current legislative session that requires school districts to provide transportation for students in the district to charter schools also in the district.
Board member Donna Soucy proposed cutting the charter school transportation funds.
'The city did not get to fully weigh in on cost to be added,' Soucy said.
The board first voted to cut the charter school transportation, the tutor and the contingency fund on an 8-6 vote. Members Dave Wihby, Ted Rokas, Kathy Staub, Dave Gelinas, Erika Connors, Jason Cooper, Roger Beauchamp and Soucy voted to pass the budget with the cuts. Members John Avard, Debra Langton, Arthur Beaudry, Ray Shoults, Christopher Stewart and Mayor Ted Gatsas voted against it. Member Sarah Ambrogi was absent.
Ultimately, the spending plans were approved on an 8-6 vote, with Gelinas, Connors, Cooper, Beauchamp, Layton, Shoults, Soucy and Staub voting in favor.
Langton repeatedly urged colleagues to add more teachers by reducing administrators and other budget items.
The jobs being restored include an assistant principal for each middle school, part-time assistant principals at five elementary schools, 17 elementary school teachers, 12 middle school language arts teachers, 10 elementary physical education, art and music specialists a West High School guidance counselor, five middle school music teachers, a German teacher and a Latin teacher at Central High School and a German teacher at Memorial.
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Bill Smith may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org..