Hamilton Wants $8.7 Million Increase For Stamford Schools

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Dr. Winifred Hamilton, superintendent of Stamford Public Schools, said she tried to balance fiscal responsibility while fully supporting the schools, which included adding some 29 new positions. Photo Credit: Anthony Buzzeo

STAMFORD, Conn. — Stamford Schools Superintendent Winifred Hamilton proposed Tuesday a roughly $245 million spending plan, showing a 3.66 percent increase from last year, to deal with growing enrollment that could force the district to fill 29 new hired positions.

“We needed 13 additional teachers,” Hamilton said adding that usually only two or three are needed. “Wow, is all I can say.”

Her 2013-14 spending plan calls for five, sixth-grade certified positions to move to the elementary level, where the student to teacher ratios are higher, she said. Her plan also moves a music teacher position from the middle school level to the elementary level, so the district would have to hire two other specialist positions at the elementary level.

She made other such suggestions to help reduce the number of vacancies the public schools will have.

Hamilton also added 12 full-time security positions to the elementary schools, which would increase the budget by $600,000. The number of security positions may decrease depending on a current study being conducted by the city, which should be concluded by mid-February, she said.

To help accommodate the additions, almost every department in the district’s central office reduced its spending plan from last year, she said. This led to seven positions being cut, some of which can move to other open positions, Hamilton said.

“Everyone took a hit in central office and I certainly took a big one,” she said, adding that she believes supporting the buildings is her main priority.

If the spending plan stays as is, the 3.66 percent increase would be the third lowest proposed increase in the past 10 years, Hamilton said. If the security guard positions are not added, it would decrease to 3.4 percent and could drop to 3.29 percent if her proposed administrative intern positions are taken out, she said.

Hamilton’s spending plan must be approved by the Board of Education, before going to the Mayor, Board of Finance and Board of Representatives. After the plan leaves the school board, it can only be cut before being approved later this spring.

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Markku:

$16,000 per student, sounds great. Why not make it $20K each? Better idea, time for school vouchers. We have school choice in "13th grade", why not before? Imagine if you have no college choice.

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