This information was provided to the Cafe by the Woodstock Board of Education on May 15th, 2006, and published at the Cafe on the same day. These FAQs have also been at the top of the left sidebar since February 2008 (eyes left). The original copy can be found here. For more detail on these answers and other questions and answers, call Superintendent, Dr. Frank Baran, at 928-7453, or you can respond or submit queries here and the Cafe will forward your queries to Dr. Baran and the BOE to seek their response. Many State reports for Town expenditures are available from the State Department of Education. Since these FAQs were written several years ago, the Cafe would like to receive updates of these FAQs if anything has changed. Admin
Q Does Woodstock require a full-time superintendent?
A The Board does not believe Woodstock would be well served by a part-time superintendent given the scope of responsibilities and demands of the position. There are only ten towns in Connecticut with a part-time superintendent. Of those towns, the student population ranges from 76 in Union to 628 in Lisbon. Woodstock currently has 982 students in the district. Each of those districts has only one school building. Five are PK-8 systems, three are K-8, and two are PK-6.
Q Does the district need four staff positions in the superintendent’s office?
A The district office consists of a payroll/financial position, .75 Accounts Payable (.25 Transportation) position, an administrative assistant, and an executive assistant. Often districts of our size have a separate business office. Major responsibilities of this staff include in-house payroll, human resources, state and federal testing and reporting requirements, grants management, accounts payable, inventory, budgeting, business management, and school activity accounts. The executive assistant’s hours often stretch into the evening. State reporting requirements and CMTs take up a significant amount of time. The Board feels that the district office is minimally staffed to achieve efficient business management and mandated reporting requirements. Woodstock’s spending per pupil on General Administration of $387 is 24% below the state average and 21% below that of ERG C.
Q How does our teacher compensation compare to other districts?
A The Board looked closely at comparative salary schedules during our teacher negotiations last fall. Our compensation scales are fair and generally tend to be near averages for both Windham County and ERG C. Our negotiated contractual increase over the next three years will be 3% per year. Including step increments, the increases will be 4.74%, 4.75% and 4.57% for 2006-07, 2007-08, and 2008-09, respectively. This is comparable to statewide teacher settlement averages of 4.73%, 4.64%, and 4.61%. Our recent teacher settlement increases the length of teachers’ working year by two days. In general, our teachers are committed, hardworking and effective, and many spend far more hours than are contractually required. The teachers have agreed to meet collaboratively with the Board in a Teacher Knowledge and Skills Based Compensation committee to evaluate potential alternative compensation structures.
Q Wouldn’t it be less expensive to contract out for school bus transportation?
A Transportation for students is a mandated service. Transportation comprises 5.09% of our overall budget. Periodically, the Board reviews the cost of maintaining our own fleet versus outsourcing transportation. To date, each time we have researched this alternative, we have determined that we save money by managing our own fleet. Our average per pupil transportation costs of $422 is 20% lower than that of the State average, and yet, geographically, we are the second largest district.
Q Can we manage healthcare insurance more effectively?
A The cost of health insurance comprises 7.54% of our overall budget. Read the rest of this entry »