Thursday, January 29, 2015
Landon Proposes $1.5 Million Budget Cut
By James Lomuscio
Westport Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon tonight appeared to pull the proverbial rabbit out of a hat, proposing a $1.5 million reduction in his announced 2015-16 budget of $113,294,493. It lowered the 3.75 percent increase over this year’s operating budget to 2.34 percent.
Elliott Landon: “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Landon told the Board of Education the cut could be gleaned from myriad areas. They included: $150,000 in workers compensation savings; removing capital projects from the operating budget, just at the town does, to save $390,000; high paid employee retirements and lower pay replacements; fund transfer, and substantial insurance savings.
In making the amendment to his proposed budget, Landon noted that Brian Stern, finance board vice chairman, told him that a “2.5 to 2.9 percent increase was as acceptable range for the Board of Finance,” the body the budget goes to following school board approval.
Michael Gordon, school board chairman, seemed thrilled. He thanked Landon, Elio Long, school business administrator, and Marge Cion, the school system’s director of human resources, “for sharpening your pencils.” He said the proposed cuts would put the budget where the finance board members “have said we should be,” without compromising programs for students.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Getting Ready for Wednesday School Reopening
Saturday, January 17, 2015
Saugatuck Students Raise Funds for Tanzania School
Ben Berkley (l) and JT Shapiro of Saugatuck Elementary School’s Caring Council have their change counted at the TD Bank on Westport’s Main Street after a month-long effort to raise funds for the tuition of two students at the Secondary Education for Girls’ Advancement (SEGA) School in Tanzania. The goal was $2,000 but when the 240 pounds of loose change and bills were counted, they had raised $3,414. Led by Ashley Moran, SES workshop and math support teacher, Rae Anne Locke, library media specialist, and Katie Bloom, second grade teacher, the Caring Council went classroom to classroom to raise awareness for SEGA and the fundraising drive. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo
Thursday, January 15, 2015
Westporter to Be Himes Guest at State of Union
U.S. Rep. Jim Himes announced today that David L. Levinson of Westport, president of Norwalk Community College (NCC), will be his guest at President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday.
David Levinson: applauds Obama proposal. Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
During an event today at NCC, Himes and Levinson voiced support for Obama’s new proposal to make the first two years of community college free for qualifying students.
“Dr. Levinson is one of Connecticut’s leading advocates for making college more affordable and accessible for all Americans, and I’m honored to have him join me at this year’s State of the Union address,” Himes said.
“America’s economic success and the strength of our middle class depend on a well-educated and well-trained workforce. If we want our nation to remain competitive, we must make college - including community colleges and vocational schools - more affordable.
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Study Time at Library
Staples High School juniors studied in the Westport Library’s Great Hall today for Thursday’s government mid-term exam. They are (l-r) Caroline Lane, Jojo Adler and Kristin Munley. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
Norwalk to Assume Some of Westport’s Continuing Ed Programs
The Westport Board of Education voted Tuesday night to have the Norwalk Public School system assume responsibility for state-mandated programs under its Continuing Education program beginning with the start of the 2015-16 school year.
The decision will have the effect of reducing the school district’s per student costs for the programs. These include English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) as well as those addressing basic literacy needs, and teach the necessary skills to transition to higher education, training or employment.
While the Westport programs serve very few adults, the Norwalk Continuing Education program is geared to serve larger numbers more efficiently, according to board members.
Additionally, while Westport’s programs are offered only a few nights during the week, the Norwalk Continuing Education program serves adults six days and evenings per week, including Saturdays.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
Cookies to Fuel Exam Takers at Staples
During midterm exams at Staples High School, the Guidance Department this week is handing out complimentary cookies, milk and motivational messages for students to “de-stress” while taking midterms. One guidance counselor, Victoria Capozzi, could be heard with a megaphone pulling kids in for cookies and wishing all “good luck!” The cookies have been a tradition for midterms and finals week at Staples. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Jaime Bairaktaris for WestportNow.com
Monday, January 05, 2015
Landon Proposes $113.29M Budget, Up 3.75%
Westport Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon tonight presented to the Board of Education a $113,294,493 proposed budget for 2015-16, a 3.75 percent increase over this year’s operating budget.
Landon said essential drivers of the increase were recommended instructional plans and programs “and our facilities needs, consistent with board goals and the recommendations of NESC (Northeast Education Services Cooperative).”
The school board plans to spend all of Wednesday poring over the proposed budget, the first step in a lengthy process that will involve Board of Education and Board of Finance reviews and approvals, and finally a Representative Town Meeting vote in the spring
“I think is an excellent first step,” said Michael Gordon, board chairman, who called Landon’s budget “academically forward looking and responsible fiscally.”
Friday, December 12, 2014
Invitation to 75th Anniversary Concert
At the end of tonight’s 74th annual Candlelight Concert at Staples High School, a large banner was unveiled inviting all to return for next year’s 75th anniversary event. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com
Full House for 74th Candlelight Concert
A full house attended the Staples High School 74th annual Candlelight Concert tonight, a gift from the Staples Music Department to the Town of Westport. The concert featured musical selections performed by the Orphenians, led by Luke Rosenberg (above), choirs, symphonic orchestra and symphonic band. A large banner, which appeared at the end, announced that Staples will be celebrating its 75th Candlelight Concert next year with a special program. The Candlelight Concert will be presented again at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Larry Untermeyer for WestportNow.com
Season’s Greetings at Candlelight Concert
Continuing a Tradition
Candlelight Concert 74th Annual Edition
Scenes from tonight’s opening night of the 74th annual Candlelight Concert at Staples High School. Larry Untermeyer and Lynn U. Miller for WestportNow.com
Thursday, December 11, 2014
CT Mirror Special : Education, Diversity and Change in Fairfield County
Fairfield County, a region marked by sharp disparities in income and in urban and suburban life, faces particular challenges in assuring all its residents a quality education.
Today, a special CTMirror.org report, “Education, Diversity and Change in Fairfield County,” explores the issue through in-depth policy reporting, interactive maps and charts, photo galleries and opinion pieces written by teachers from the Connecticut Writing Project at Fairfield University.
The project also features a new interactive tool to help readers offer their perspective.
Called The Public Eye, and developed in partnership with Hartford-based design firm CO:LAB, The Public Eye is a collection of highlights and commentary based on what CTMirror.org has published, as well as experiences and resources posted by the community. Readers are encouraged to post a story or comment.