DARIEN, Conn. -- After-school clubs, sports uniforms, non-fiction books and athletic trainers are among the possible increases in Darien school spending next year.
More students at Darien High School continue to participate in after school clubs, according to Principal Arlene Gottesman. The school is adding about $5,000 to its budget for stipends for faculty advisers for five new clubs: Quidditch, Embrace, China Connect, Guitar and Ultimate Frisbee. Most clubs are often created by students and are incredibly popular among the student body, Gottesman said.
The schools do not currently have a budget set aside for sports uniforms, with most uniforms being paid for from fundraisers and donations. Athletic Director Michael Sullivan proposed $10,000 to pay for uniforms for some teams that could use new uniforms. He specifically identified boys and girls track, girls hockey, girls softball and boys volleyball as teams in need.
Board of Education Chair Elizabeth Hagerty-Ross said schools have resisted funding uniforms in the past. Because so many teams pay for uniforms on their own or rely on donations, the schools want to make sure there is equality, and that some teams aren't receiving funding while others are raising money on their own.
Students have been checking out more non-fiction books from the school libraries, said librarian Priscilla Blake when presenting the library budget to the Board of Education Wednesday night. Middle school classes are also utilizing more non-fiction books instead of traditional textbooks, said Middlesex Middle School Principal Debi Boccanfuso.
The school libraries reduced their costs by about $2,000. The reduction comes from cuts in repairs and replacement for media and audiovisual equipment, as well as cutting back on periodicals. Libraries have reduced the number of physical reference books and are increasing subscriptions to online databases so that students can find information from a variety of online sources. Students are also able to access the databases from home.
The Athletic Department is increasing the hours and amount it pays athletic trainers at sporting events, according to Sullivan. Athletic trainers are used at all athletic events to help prevent injuries and deal with them when they occur. Darien pays athletic trainers $28 an hour, whereas most schools in the area pay around $41. Sullivan proposed increasing the hourly pay to about $30 an hour.