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Wilton Parents Analyze $74.6M School Budget

WILTON, Conn. – Parents gathered at Wilton’s Middlebrook Middle School on Thursday liked what they heard from Superintendent Gary Richards about the $74.6 million school budget for 2012-13.

“I think they’re trying really hard in a tough environment. I think they were trying to cut it in recognition of the economic situation,” said Allison Cross, a mother of two. "And the impression I had was that if they kept cutting further, we were really going to start being behind." Cross said her hope is that this budget will get Wilton schools back on track.

“I think it’s a pretty conservative and prudent budget,” said Jody Marcell, a Wilton parent. “I think it seems like they really worked hard to keep it at what I consider a relatively low increase.”

During public comments, many parents expressed concern at the growing class sizes, though they were pleased that they weren’t over the goal sizes of 22 students per class. Richards said in his presentation that class sizes are almost at maximum levels across all the schools.

Marcell said her family moved here seven months ago for the schools. “The fact that they’re losing two teachers at Cider Mill, I think that’s a shame. I’d like to see them not do that and get the class size smaller.”

Ed Papp, a longtime Wilton resident, just wants to make sure that the town is “getting the best bang for our buck.” He said during the public comment that he would like to see more resources going into the classrooms.

Mother of three Jackie Bayne worried the enrichment programs the schools have lost over the years. “How are we going to address the fact that we have lost some of the services parents moved here (for and) that we expected to receive?” Bayne asked.

Richards said enrichment is addressed in the range of extracurricular activities offered at the schools. He also said teachers use a technique called “differentiation,” which allows them to assign varying levels of work to students within the same class.

The full budget proposal is available on the Board of Education website. If you missed the presentation, Richards will speak again at the PTA meeting at Cider Mill Elementary School at 9:15 a.m. Monday, Jan. 30.

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