See What School Officials Included in the Budget Request for 2015-16

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Watertown school officials have requested a $2.7 million increase for the 2015-16 school year, which includes more than 20 new jobs, new equipment and bolstering technology in the town’s public schools.

Superintendent Jean Fitzgerald said the budget includes teachers to reduce class sizes at Cunniff and Hosmer elementary schools, teachers at the high school to strengthen the computer science and environmental science programs, and an Arabic teacher at the high school.

The $41.93 million budget, a 6.87 percent increase from 20141-15, was presented to the School Committee on Monday night.

Another area of focus for the budget is student support. This includes adding part-time psychologists at Cunniff and Lowell schools, a part time school adjustment counselor at Watertown Middle School, and two part-time psychologists and a behavioral specialist for the special education program.

In addition, each school will now have a library/media specialist. These are important to prepare Watertown students for the 21st century education, teaching them how to research and use technology.

Like many additions, however, Fitzgerald said the librarians are not adding to the district so much as catching up. The librarian positions were eliminated over the past few years during budget cuts.

School Director of Business Services Charlie Kellner said that a majority of the increase – 57 percent – will actually go toward maintaining the current staff. This includes salary, plus contracted raises, Kellner said.

The new positions account for 42 percent of the increase. Materials and equipment make up 16 percent of the budget and technology 7 percent, Kellner said.

The Watertown schools also got a boost from a significant decrease in tuitions for out-of-district special education programs. Kellner budgeted more than $970,000 in savings.

The School Committee will officially adopt the budget on Wednesday night at a meeting at 6:30 p.m. at the Watertown High School lecture hall.

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