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Darien Daily Voice serves Darien, CT

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Darien Considers Cutting Elementary School Spanish

DARIEN, Conn. – Darien’s elementary schools might not be getting foreign language programs next year after the Board of Education slated the program as one that could get cut from the 2012-13 budget.

At Tuesday night’s meeting, board members and Superintendent Stephen Falcone went through the budget and tried to eliminate items. Although nothing was actually cut, the district is looking to lower its budget increase this year.

Cutting the foreign language program would save $344,000, which includes the cost of a teacher hired at each of the five elementary schools and supplies. The addition of the program was approved last month.

Another big item that could be cut is the social worker that the district considered adding for the elementary schools. Administrators have told the school board that a social worker is needed to help with students who might be experiencing crises outside of school. The cut would save $70,000 from the budget.

Board members also suggested not going ahead with the proposal to change rugby from a club sport to a varsity sport . This would save $9,000. Heather Shea suggested adding $2,300 to support rugby in its current club form.

Before going through the budget Tuesday, members of the RTM addressed the school board with their thoughts on school spending. Lisa Schneider of the Education Committee said they supported the idea of foreign languages but not the program approved by the board. They want a program with more than 45 minutes of instruction per week.

Bruce Orr of the Finance Committee asked the Board of Education to reduce its budget increase from the proposed 5.6 percent to a number closer to 3 percent.

A public hearing will be held on the Board of Education’s budget Feb. 7 in the Town Hall auditorium. The board will make its final cuts and approve the budget Feb. 14.

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