Manchester school officials look for best use of dollars
Brennan will be meeting with incoming Superintendent Debra Livingston to come up with a plan for spending the additional $1 million, along with other budget adjustments.
Based on the calculations of district Business Administrator Karen DeFrancis, the additional funds will not allow the district to hire many more teachers, beyond replacing the more than 40 who are retiring or resigning.
Prior to voting to direct Brennan to come up with a spending plan in time for the next school board meeting later this month, the board debated whether new hiring should take place in the high schools or the elementary and middle schools.
Ward 9 board member Art Beaudry supported this view. “If we don’t get the primary grades up to speed, we won’t reduce the dropout rates,” he said.
The total amount of money the district may have to hire teachers will hinge in large part on the outcome of negotiations with its largest union, the teachers. Concessions with a smaller union, the paraprofessionals, generated $500,000 in savings over two years.
The vote was an attempt to prevent the perennial problem of a chaotic start to the school year, which board members have blamed on class schedules only being released just before the start of school in the fall.
“If these schedules are given, they would still be provisional,” said Ward 1 board member Sarah Ambrogi. “If this were a bill in Congress, I would call it the ‘the guarantee of a good first day of school bill.’”