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RTM and BOF Act on Town-School Budget

by marcia chambers | Mar 26, 2015 9:22 am

Marcia Chambers Photo A major initiative in the town-school budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year, a $19.6 million general obligation refunding project, was enthusiastically endorsed by the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) last night in a unanimous bi-partisan vote.

The RTM’s action came two days after the Board of Finance (BOF) approved the same bonding measure along with a $103.6 million town-school budget.  After reflection, discussion and compromise, the BOF reduced the town and school budgets totaling $105.3M to $103.6M Monday night, a $1.8 million cut. The BOF budget that emerged after three days of public hearings reflects an increase of $940,130 or 0.9 percent over last year’s $102.6M budget.

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Hernandez Says School Testing Going Well

by Diana Stricker | Mar 21, 2015 9:33 am | Comments (2)

Diana Stricker Photo Branford students are taking the new state-mandated tests this week, but unlike in some school districts, the Branford superintendent says the tests are “going smoothly.”

Superintendent Hamlet Hernandez reported on the tests at Wednesday’s meeting of the Board of Education (BOE). “We were very prepared,” Hernandez said. The reason for that, he said, is that Branford participated in the pilot test program two years ago and in the field test last year.

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Celebrating 30 Years of BHS Musicals

by Bill O'Brien | Mar 18, 2015 9:25 am

Bill O'Brien Photo Who would have guessed that when Cathyann Roding and Toni Cartisano produced their first musical in 1986 at Branford High School they would still be doing it 30 years later?

Bill O'Brien Photo That musical – “Pippin” – was the first for this dynamic duo, who have followed with well-known hits as “The Music Man,” “42nd Street,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “West Side Story,” and even “Phantom of the Opera,” just to mention a few.

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Say Farewell To Branford Hills School

by Diana Stricker | Mar 17, 2015 12:12 am

Marcia Chambers Photo It looks like the former Branford Hills Elementary School, which was built in 1955, is slated for demolition rather than renovation. 

The school’s impending fate was disclosed in an agenda that was posted late last week for a special meeting of the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) on March 25. It lists a series of resolutions regarding bonds for various town projects. The Board of Finance, which is now conducting budget hearings for 2015-16, will vote on the bonding issues on March 23. 

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Ed Board OKs Budget After Fixing Million-Dollar “Typo”

by Diana Stricker | Feb 12, 2015 2:47 pm | Comments (1)

Diana Stricker Photo The Board of Education (BOE) unanimously approved a 2015-2016 operating budget of $53,281,439 last night—which appears to be about $1 million more than the proposed budget presented Feb. 4. The superintendent said the discrepancy is due to a “typo” in his presentation packet last week.

The BOE also unanimously approved a capital budget of $1,285,650 last night.  One major change in the capital plan occurred when board members asked that a total of $150,000 be included for bathroom repairs at the high school and at Walsh Intermediate School. That would be offset by delaying a request that $250,000 be earmarked toward replacing the synthetic turf at the high school.  The capital budget was made public for the first time last night.

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BOE Votes on 2015-16 School Budget Tonight

by Diana Stricker | Feb 11, 2015 1:50 pm

Diana Stricker Photo The Board of Education (BOE) anticipates voting on the proposed 2015-16 school budget tonight (Wednesday) when the board meets at 7 p.m. at Branford High School. This is a corrected version of the school budget, originally announced at $52.4 million last week and now revised to $53.4 million. The announcement of the revision came at a BOE budget workshop meeting last night. 

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School Budget: 2.29% Increase Proposed

by marcia chambers | Feb 5, 2015 11:04 am

Marcia Chambers Photo Saying this year’s theme was “coherence,” Branford Schools Superintendent Hamlet Hernandez presented a proposed $52.4 million education budget for 2015-16 Wednesday, a difference over last year’s appropriation of roughly $1.2 million, which equates to 2.29 percent.

“We are looking at a very lean budget this year,” he said. At a meeting at Branford High School, he outlined a proposed budget that keeps low class size a high priority, maintains existing programs and meets all operational and contractual obligations. School enrollment continues to decline.

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Landmark State Education Lawsuit Postponed

by marcia chambers | Jul 24, 2014 8:19 am | Comments (1)

File Photo Back in January, a Superior Court Judge in Hartford rejected the state’s effort to delay a lawsuit that challenges the way Connecticut funds its public schools. Judge Kevin Dubay ruled the lawsuit would head to trial Sept. 9.

Now the educational coalition that initially fought the state’s delay has agreed with the state attorney general’s office to a five-month postponement. The trial is now slated to begin Jan. 6, 2015, two months after the gubernatorial and other statewide elections are held. 

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The Glue That Binds The Branford High Class Of 2014

by Emma Zehner | Jun 23, 2014 8:34 am | Comments (1)

With Permission Branford High Principal Lee Panagoulias and Board of Education Chairman Michael Krause had a story to tell, one that ties the Branford High graduating class together in a unique way. They shared the story with hundreds of graduates, their parents and friends as they gathered on the town Green as the class of 2014 for the last time. 

The story centers on Chris Frione (pictured above with his family), who suffered a devastating head injury during a middle school baseball game when a line drive hit him in the left temple. He was in eighth grade at the Walsh Intermediate School when his brain injury occurred.

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Wilson, Kennedy Question Common Core

by marcia chambers | Jun 17, 2014 12:33 pm | Comments (2)

The national debate over Common Core has landed in the Shoreline race for the open 12th State Senate District seat, with Republican candidate Bruce H. Wilson, Jr. calling for the state to reconsider its plan to require all school districts to adopt new academic standards along with new standardized tests.

Wilson said he believes in having standards in place but not “a central standard that is non-negotiable.”

His opponent, Democratic candidate Ted Kennedy, Jr., too, called for caution on rolling out new standardized tests, saying his sense is that “it is too much, too fast.” Kennedy said he is in the process of talking to parents, teachers and boards of education in the district to get their points of view.

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