The special master appointed to says the state is putting a planned transfer of school business office funds to the municipal budget on hold until the proposal can go through a more thorough planning process.
Dr. Steven Adamowski said at a special meeting of the Board of Education that such transfers are permissible under the law, but considered that it was approved too hastily in New London. He said a planning committee should oversee the process over the course of three years.
“You have had little to no information on cost savings here, which amazes me,” said Adamowski.
The Finance Committee of the City Council of the school’s business office funds to the budget, with the intention of having the district use the approximately $540,000 that would have gone toward the business office to preserve jobs and programs. The Board of Education’s Finance Committee , but the full board and later .
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Adamowski also said the council’s vote to anticipate additional Education Cost Sharing funds was made in error, since Superintendent Nicholas Fischer needs to develop a one-year form plan for the district before the additional funds available for the state’s lowest performing schools will be available.
“This money, as you’re probably aware, was erroneously—or I’m sure this was unintentionally—put initially in your city budget on the assumption that this was a pass-through of ECS funding like your regular ECS funding,” said Adamowski. “It’s not. It’s a special fund. It is intended for school reform purposes.”
Adamowski said his chief duty as special master will be to develop a three-year district improvement plan outlining a vision for the district, measures of success, strategies, and implementation steps. His authority includes making some decisions regarding the budget and conducting audits in areas such as programs and curriculums, as well as incentives and assignments of teachers and principals.
Adamowski also said the Board of Education should work to make a basic plan regarding best practices for meetings. He said that the board should also begin holding a summer retreat, starting in 2013, to determine which methods are improving student achievement and update the strategic plan as necessary.
“There is a presumption in the law that prior to the State Board of Education taking any action to dissolve a school board and reconstitute it with appointed members that the Board of Education have the opportunity to be trained and have some opportunity to demonstrate that the training has been official and that things are moving in a different direction,” he said.
in May following the completion of a Department of Education . The audit was critical of the Board of Education’s conduct, saying it does not place enough emphasis on student achievement and has a poor relationship with school administrators and city officials.
New London sophomores scored near the bottom of the state in the . The state has also named the district as one of the lowest performing in the state, with 63.9 percent of students graduating within four years.
The State Board of Education unanimously on June 6. Adamowski, a former Hartford superintendent who is also serving as a special master for the Windham public school district, .
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