FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Superintendent David Title wants to bring in new teachers to the Fairfield Public Schools to deal with still-increasing enrollment and to expand the townwide math curriculum he brought to the elementary schools this year.
The new teachers, plus higher salaries for existing faculty and administrators, account for the biggest portion of his request to increase the school district’s spending by 2.6 percent next school year. He made his first pitch for his proposed $149 million budget to the Board of Education on Tuesday night.
“This budget has some improvements in it, has some initiatives in it and at the same time I think is very fiscally responsible,” Title said.
The biggest portion of the increase was an extra $3 million combined for teacher salaries and benefits. Some of that jump came from the new union contracts approved by the town in late 2011. The teachers' union is entitled to a 2 percent pay raise in 2012-13, and the administrators will make an extra 1.75 percent.
But Title also said he plans to bring in new teachers. One reason is his decision to expand his new math curriculum to the rest of the district. This school year he started a new program at the elementary schools that brought in at least one new math teacher at each school to boost test scores.
That program would go to higher levels as well, if the school board approves Title’s plans. Each middle school would get an extra math specialist and both high schools would get more part-time math teachers.
The high schools would get more teachers in other areas next school year as well under this plan, because of increasing enrollment. Fairfield expects more than 100 more students to enter across the district in 2012-13.
But the high schools will see especially large numbers, as more students graduate middle school. High school enrollment is expected to jump by 117 students next school year, and Fairfield will hire more teachers to keep class sizes manageable. A net total of about 18 more teachers would join Fairfield under Title’s plan.
“There’s no doubt high school enrollment’s going up,” he said. “We need to address it in the budget.”
Title said he saved money this year in other areas to help offset the higher salaries. The district would employ 35 fewer paraprofessionals and other non-certified staff members and cut part-time hours for some elementary and middle school teachers to make up for the new teachers. Fairfield Public Schools also plan to spend less next year on utilities, technology and legal fees.
The full budget proposal is available on the district’s website. The Board of Education will hold public meetings next Tuesday and Thursday, Jan. 17 and 19, to talk about the plan. It will make its final decision Jan. 24. After that the Board of Selectmen and Board of Finance will vote on the request in March, followed by the Representative Town Meeting’s final vote in early May.