Building for the Future

When many people think school budget, they think about the current school year and where all of the money is spent while their kids are in school; however, in reality, it is a lengthy plan for the next year’s budget.

The objective of the budget process is to collaborate with others on where the money should be distributed within dozens of categories relating to the schools within the district. Superintendent of Regional School District 13 Dr. Kathryn Veronesi compared the budget process to post-Christmas shopping with the money that you received from your family saying, “It’s like going to the mall after Christmas: you make decisions about what your priority is.”  Although this can be a very tedious process, it’s what helps guide the staff on where the money needs to be invested to be able to provide the needs for all of the students within the district.

Because of these changes, Dr. Veronesi explained, “We build something to support our vision for the future,” not something that will only work for one year. It must be designed to conform to the changes of society. To some people, this can be a problem because they do not like to change; however, people must understand that the Board of Education’s number one priority is providing for the needs of all students attending District 13 schools. Dr. Veronesi explained that the schools have two main recourse needs, fiscal and human resources, and the Board of Education must decide how and when to issue the money within these two major categories.

The world is constantly changing, requiring all people to adapt at some point in their lives for one reason or another, which is just like a school’s budget system. For example, the enrollment is projected to decrease within the next ten years because younger generations are not looking to live in small rural areas such as Durham and Middlefield. Dr. Veronesi states, “The freshmen class is slated to be about 80 kids in about 5 years, sophomores 109 kids,  juniors 90 kids, and graduating class 110 kids.” The rate of elderly people living in Durham and Middlefield has increased, while the number of adults soon to be having kids are looking for other places to live. Because of this shift within the demographics of Middlefield and Durham, there have been changes made within the district, such as closing Francis E. Korn Elementary School and shifting students to Brewster and Memorial schools.

Athletic Director Nick Barbieri explained his similar goals in being prepared for upcoming changes within the school that will eventually affect the athletic programs. Mr. Barbieri assured that he is open to adapting to the changes of society when dealing with the athletic programs at Coginchaug. Even though it might not directly relate to the budget process, if there is a decrease in enrollment, he explained that “one year we may support a freshman program and the next we may not, but it draws on the interests of the students.” Director of Technology Mr. Rich Fielding also expressed reassurance that the technology department has plans to ensure that the students are able to use the technology needed to enhance their learning. He explained, “Every year we have a replacement plan…,” and “we stay flexible till the last minute.” It shows that not only the superintendent but the rest of the faculty and staff are on the same path looking forward to the future and seeing what plans can be created to make each year’s transition run as smoothly as possible.

Dr. Veronesi and her fellow administrators have a collective goal to build budgets and plans that work for the future. Dr. Veronesi concluded a recent press conference with the Devil’s Advocate staff by saying that their objective is to “invest in excellence, focus on today and pay attention to the future.”

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