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Trumbull's Supt. Asks for 4.75 Percent Budget Increase

The Board of Education will review the proposal next.

Schools Supt. Ralph Iassogna has asked for a budget increase of about $4.4 million, including a new technology initiative called "Project Catapult."

The request for the 2013-2014 school year would add 4.75 percent, for a total proposal of about $95.7 million. The district received a 4.47 percent increase last year.

"This is the year of technology," Iassogna told the Board of Education Tuesday night. The proposal emphasizes three areas:

  • "Maintain our core academic tenets with particular emphasis on class size and support services that directly impact students."
  • "Ensure that our operational responsibilities are fulfilled, particularly those related to safety and fundamental procedures;"
  • Implement, both in our operating budget and three-year Technology Plan, 'Project Catapult,' an initiative that should significantly enhance our infrastructure/equipment needs, as well as increase our capabilities to move forward."

Iassogna attributed the increase first to salaries, at about $1.7 million; Benefits, $986,573; Project Catapult, $643,000; and Special Education Tuition.

The budget accounts for numerous meetings with teacher and parent groups.

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The superintendent also asked for a small staff increase, but acknowledged it was not the year for staffing requests. But Trumbull High School officials said the high school could use more guidance counselors.

The middle schools need new Smartboards, officials added.

Before Iassogna's read his proposal, the board learned Trumbull's middle schools have been named "schools of distinction" by the state for the small education gap.

"It's quite an honor. This is a very sought-after achievement," said Board Chairman Stephen Wright.

Iassogna said the schools teach 21st century learning skills and serve about 7,000 students daily. Almost all students graduate from Trumbull High School and 94 percent go on to highly competitive schools.

He added that he also needs to justify the funding request in addition to recommending the increase. However, he said, "I think our track record speaks for itself."

The schools chief also noted that Trumbull "gets more bang for its buck," spending less than other comparable school districts in Fairfield County.

One issue could be the fields at Trumbull High. Athletic Director Michael Herbst said the football field needs new turf and track and field areas and the tennis courts need repair. That could cost more than $1 million, he said.

In the worst case scenario, if someone is injured on the field, it could result in the field's closure and force the teams to play elsewhere instead of at home, Herbst said.

Herbst's request is not included in Iassogna's budget proposal.

Meanwhile, Lainie McHugh, who helps the education series ABCs of the Education Budget, praised the proposal.

"There's really not a lot to complain about. It's a great place to start," she said.

The board meets again Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and on Dec. 11 if necessary. The board will review the proposal and vote on its final form in January before forwarding to First Selectman Tim Herbst.

Lisa Labella December 05, 2012 at 10:24 PM
That has been discussed, but unfortunately, publishers are currently charging the same for a license to use an online version/iPad of a textbook as they do for the textbook itself. In addition, schools are not all wireless (the only school planned to be completely wireless is the high school), which means that online versions would not be accessible in school.
Richard December 05, 2012 at 11:11 PM
It is disturbing that citizens like this J. Herd Fullerton assign blame to the education budget without recognizing that times have changed, student population's diversity has increased, and getting into college is more competitive than ever. Further, I would encourage him and any other like minded citizens, to scrutinize the town side of the budget. Just recently, a new Chief of Staff was hired, a lawyer, with credentials that suggest she must be commanding a much higher salary than her predecessors. I agree that taxes are high and eventually it may encourage me to move or deter people from buying here. However, I resent the senior-aged generations complaints about supporting education. They bought their houses for chesp, their cost of living was reasonable, their schools were new, university education cheap and they stand to reap the benefits in the appreciated value of their property.
Earl December 06, 2012 at 03:35 AM
I remember when the turf field was installed years ago when all the naysayers complained about how it was a waste of money for the football team. In the old days the THS football field was used for games only (no practice) for the football team only, and was ruined every year as soon as they played one game on the field in the rain. Every couple of years they would have to re-sod the field....and the whole process would start all over again. Since they layed down the turf the football team uses it for games and practice, the band uses it, soccer, lacrosse, daytime, nightime.......it has been ones of the best investments ever made. The turf field has been worth every penny.
trumbulite09 December 06, 2012 at 01:37 PM
Great response Richard - THANK YOU!
Joan December 06, 2012 at 01:39 PM
It wasn't that many years ago, was it? At least it doesn't seem like it.

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