Stonington - Although Superintendent of Schools Leanne Masterjoseph proposed a plan Monday night to cut $156,215 from the 2012-13 school budget, she urged parents, teachers and others to fight to get the money restored to the budget.
That fight will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the high school auditorium, when the Board of Finance will hold a budget public hearing. Masterjoseph said the only time she has ever seen the finance board restore money to the school budget was when residents packed a public hearing and asked the finance board to do so.
"My recommendation is to fight, and fight hard to get this money back in the budget," she told the crowd of about 70 school budget supporters.
When the finance board proposed a $56.9 million budget two weeks ago, it cut $156,215 from the school budget. The finance board could change its proposal before sending it to the Board of Selectmen to set the date for a referendum vote.
Finance board Chairman Glenn Frishman has said that if voters turn down the budget and its 0.47-mill tax rate increase, the largest in several years, his board would further cut the proposed $33 million school budget and its 3.62 percent increase because "that's where the money is."
The largest of Masterjoseph's proposed cuts to meet the $156,215 decrease is $120,000, which would have been used to hire two staff members to help students struggling with math.
Another $15,400 would be cut from high school sports and $4,600 from high school extracurricular activities, but Masterjoseph is meanwhile proposing adding $52,000 for a half-time facilitator for the combined West Broad Street and West Vine Street schools, which share a principal.
Union Vice President Michael Freeman agreed with Masterjoseph's suggestion that the finance board use some of its healthy undesignated fund balance to help fund the school board's full budget request.
"The town's rainy day fund needs to be used, because it is pouring," he said.