STAFF WRITER John Coffelt UPDATE (2:38 p.m., May 1): SPECIAL CALLED MEETING of the Board of Education has been scheduled for 6 p.m., May 2. The agenda includes approval of 2018-2019 Fiscal Budget and  approval of 2018-2019 Fiscal Budget for the Nutrition Program.    During Monday, April 30’s rescheduled meeting, the Manchester Board of Education failed to pass in its $14.1 million proposed 2018-19 budget. The deadline to get the finalized budget to the Manchester Board of Mayor and Alderman is Friday, May 4. The budget failed with board members Lisa Gregory and Susan Wood voting yes and Mike Lewis, Travis Hillis and Susan Parsley dissenting. “There are some things that need to be cleaned up and addressed (from) the work session,” Lewis said. “We’ve just been handed the cafeteria budget, we’ve just been handed a partial job description for instructional assistants.” Monday’s meeting and work session was rescheduled after the April 16 meeting failed to have minimum of three members present. The board saw an initial draft of the budget during a work session April 11. In that work session, Director of Schools Lee Wilkerson told the board the proposed three School Resource Officers would tie up funds for three master teachers (also known as instructional coaches). Formerly funded though a TAP grant, these Master Teachers help improve the quality of instruction and take some of the stress of state requirements off the shoulders of the teachers. Yet since the April 11 work session, a recalculated estimate of BEP state funds added $283,000 to district coffers, money that Wilkerson said would fund three SRO salaries and two instructional coaches. Lewis also cited his nay vote to not getting a job description for the two master teachers. Additional positions Included in the proposed budget were additions of several administrative positions that were cut in 2015. As discussed on April 11 and again Monday, the new positions are a split position for special education and federal programs, the creation of a special education coordinator (current Special Education Director Jenny Thomas will retire on June 30), to reinstate the federal director position, add a full-time counselor at Westwood Middle and add a position for transportation supervisor (to be filled by Director of Maintenance Donnie Turner). The creation of the central office personnel narrowly passed with Hillis offering the swing vote to turn the tide against Lewis’s and Parsley’s dissent. During Monday’s meetings, the foodservice budget was presented to the board by Director of Attendance and Director of Food Service Dana Morris.  Morris mentioned a reduction of $24,000 in teacher assistant pay. No teacher aide position was cut, but an addition was suggested during the work session to bump the five aides’ hours from five to seven for an additional $35,000. More questions, no concrete answers Throughout the work sessions, Lewis repeatedly questioned the additional administrative positions, implying a desire for more funds being spent at the school building level. “How will each school be enhanced by this budget?” he asked on Monday. “As far as people on the ground, there are not additions…other than central office.” Wilkerson’s responded, “The function of any administrative staff is to support teachers. These positions are designed to give teachers a better environment to teach their children. There is no one here who considers them self separate from the school. If we have a better functioning central office…teachers can take that and run with it.” At the conclusion of the meeting, Chairman of the Board Travis Hillis chided fellow board members. “There’re questions that you guys have,” he said. “I don’t have any more questions, because I’ve come here and I’ve talked about it. I know you have to work like the rest of us, but if we don’t get a budget approved for these people, the mayor and aldermen, we’re going to have a bad day. I suggest you make arrangements, get out your questions, get together and get it done.” Lewis responded that it was not the board’s fault the information was not given to the board. “I don’t appreciate being forced…into a decision because we weren’t given the information,” he said. A special-call meeting was suggested for later this week to give the board time to look over work session changes, but no time was agreed upon for a second vote.  

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