July 3, 2009

New Town School Board seeks second counselor

New Town School Board seeks second counselor
New Town School Board members finalized a number of items this week during two meetings, including passing a budget and canvassing votes from a June 30 election. However, one of the most critical items is in seeking a second counselor for the high school.
According to Supt. Marc Bluestone, the school will begin advertising for a second cousnelor because, as he described it, a lot of needs are going unmet and that needs to change.
He said the district has lost 34 kids this past school year while the general school population has remained stable. That has Bluestone and board members concerned.
“We can’t be losing that many kids,” Bluestone said. “That’s a tell-tale sign that something isn’t right.”
Hiring a second counselor is a good start, and to go beyond that, Bluestone said more intervention and training among staff could stave off students dropping out. He acknowledged 34 is a high drop rate in a school the size of New Town, and said one kid dropping out is too many.
“It ends up costing us more money in the long run when kids aren’t educated,” Bluestone said. “We are going to work diligently to fix this.”
In other business:
• The board passed a $9.68 million budget for the 2009-10 school year. It includes $1.1 million in federal stimulus funding in which the board has up to two years to spend. The federal government doesn’t recommend that money be spent on personnel, according to Bluestone, because it isn’t sustainable, meaning it doesn’t renew itself.
The budget includes $9.316 in general fund expenditures and $352,108 in savings. However, Bluestone added a caveat that $680,000 will be lost in equity fund payments.

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