Following a report by Board of Education Vice Chair Laura Roche, the school board voted unanimously on Tuesday, January 7, to allow its Communications Committee to send budget newsletters on behalf of the board.
Ms Roche explained the procedure was used last year, but the Communications Committee wanted the school board, with new members, to vote on it for this year.
“We’ll be sending letters out on key points,” said Ms Roche. “We’re going to send one out before the budget process starts. Then there is three weeks when we have a total of six workshops, so after each of these we will send a summary on that week’s happenings… Then we would do a summary letter after we finish with the Board of Finance. Then… once the budget referendum is set we’re going to then rely, hopefully, on the PTAs.”
Once a referendum is set, Ms Roche said, the school board cannot use tax dollars to advocate or speak about the budget. The only information the board can share, Ms Roche said, is the time, date, and place of a budget referendum.
Ms Roche said she has arranged a meeting with PTA leadership.
Ms Roche also said she plans on sending out a letter to people as a reminder of the option on the town’s website, www.newtown-ct.gov, to sign up for meeting agendas and minutes to be sent to personal email accounts, which is available here.
Along with announcing he will eventually be holding open office hours Saturday mornings for people to drop in and speak to him on the budget, Interim Superintendent of Schools John Reed also reminded the school board people can contact the school district to ask for speakers, including himself, to attend events to discuss the budget.
School board member Michelle Ku requested that Dr Reed’s availability to attend arranged speaking engagements be added to the future budget newsletters.
Dr Reed is scheduled to present his proposed budget to the school board for review during a budget workshop set for January 21.