Milford School budget revised

MILFORD – A month after presenting a school district budget that called for cutting a number of positions, schools Superintendent Jessica Huizenga returned to the board of education with some major changes.

During the Dec. 3 board meeting, Huizenga said the new spending plan reinstates to full-time the high school’s world language teacher, science teacher and math teacher. Some of the world language teacher’s time, however, will go to the middle school to start a Spanish program for grade 6, to “strengthen the language pipeline to the high school,” Huizenga said.

The new plan is nearly $100,000 less than the current budget and it addresses some of the budget’s critics. Those critics object to more money for administration and professional development – and less for building maintenance.

Per the revised budget, the assistant high school principal position will be reduced by attrition and the purchase of Chromebooks will be cut back, and so will money spent on professional development – from $100,000 to $75,000.

The superintendent’s slide shows the high school’s director of academic studies will transition to a department head. The original plan for two teaching chairs for grades 6-12, one for STEM and one for the humanities, was scrapped and those positions will instead become department chairs.

The plan still cuts a high school social studies teaching position and a part-time woodworking teacher, while $100,000 was added back to the district’s building maintenance fund.

Among the goals of the superintendent’s plan are to:

address enrollment decline, while bringing more inclusion for special education students; and

more integration of middle and high school studies.

Staff to teach the younger students will be added, including reading specialists and math coaches. The plan also increases middle school arts and wellness programs, in addition to reducing the size of middle school classes.

The original plan added two social workers and the new one adds a third, at the elementary school level, which means there will be one at every school in the district. Huizenga said that will offset some of the burden on social workers, who are picking up more duties involving special education oversight.

The new spending plan is only a $1,000 less than this year’s budget, and has a “pretty minimum human impact,” said the superintendent who made the changes with the district’s administrative team and planned to present them to the budget committee.

Board Chairman Ron Carvell called it “a pretty solid approach.”

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.

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