Phil Schaefer, chairman of the school board, began his initial comments by praising the accomplishments of Weston students, who had the highest scores ever in the state on the standardized CAPT (Connecticut Academic Performance Test), as well as "outstanding" results on the CMTs (Connecticut Mastery Tests) this year.
"These results indicate we have a powerful curriculum, and strong instruction," Mr. Schaefer
As to physical work, the schools began a roof replacement project at the middle school, installed new boilers, did asbestos abatement, and installed 300 new computers and WiFi throughout the district (before that, 72% of the district's computers were more than six years old, Mr. Schaefer
said not only has the economy and Weston's relatively high employment kept the school budget nearly flat, it has also created new or additional "social pressures" for kids and their families.
School salaries: Mr. Schaefer
acknowledged that the superintendent's 7.5% increase, on top of a base salary that increased by 2% because of a previous deferral, "really are high numbers.
The decision to approve the increase was "a very tough one," but an equity adjustment was the primary justification, he
The board felt the superintendent and his
team were directly responsible for bringing significant cost savings to the district, but still, board members knew some people would not be happy with the raise.
"Going forward, I think we need to listen more carefully and intently to the entire town...
It seems like it should have been done differently," Mr. Schaefer
The main thing at this point, Mr. Schaefer
said, is "we need to move forward."
Ms. Weinstein said she
wanted to point out something Mr. Schaefer
never would: Mr. Schaefer
initially voted for the increase, then, after much public input and many executive session discussions, he
voted against it.
However, as the chairman, Mr. Schaefer is "in a position where he has to defend the board's position," and the decision made by the majority, she said.
While difficult, as the chairman, that is "the right thing to do" and she
ability to do just that.
Invited panelists for the symposium are First Selectman Gayle Weinstein; Mike O'Brien, chairman of the Board of Finance; Phil Schaefer, chairman of the Board of Education; and Stephan Grozinger, chairman of the P&Z Commission.
Board of Education Chairman, Philip L. Schaefer