WEATHERSFIELD School officials submit wish lists

The district's medical-insurance premium could weigh heavily on its financial health.
MINERAL RIDGE -- Wish lists from four Weathersfield School District administrators present the board of education with some ideas as it sets priorities.
The lists come from principals Michael Hanshaw of the high school, William Koppel of the middle school and Cynthia Mulgrew of Seaborn Elementary.
Also submitting a list at a school board work session on the district's five-year plan was Dan Kiger, supervisor of transportation and buildings and grounds.
Requests: Each list had common key areas: building maintenance, staffing and curriculum.
The principals asked that the secretaries' work days be lengthened by a half-hour in the morning and afternoon so secretaries are at their desks before and after classes.
Cutting the use of tutors to four hours a day isn't popular with Koppel and Mulgrew, who asked for a return to a six-hour day.
Hanshaw wants an additional foreign-language teacher, but no decision has been made on which language will be offered. A second survey of parents is planned, and a decision should be made before February.
Expansion of the honors program to add English for grades 9 and 10 has been delayed until next year because of an overload of students in regular English classes.
Room changes: Suggestions for converting rooms came from Koppel and from Mulgrew, who also asked that the board consider renovating the Seaborn main office.
Koppel suggested creating a new band room, converting the teachers lounge into classroom space, moving the choir room to the old shop area and making the existing choir room two classrooms.
Superintendent Rocco Adduci said it would be expensive to refurbish the shop room, adding that the school board must decide whether to add onto the aging middle school or look at alternatives.
Kiger asked for two more full-time custodians or a full-timer and two domestics; uniforms for custodial personnel; on-board video cameras for buses; additional work at the new Joe Lane sports complex; and general repair, replacement and painting at each of the three buildings. He also suggested an indoor baseball-softball facility, to be funded by donations.
Insurance: Board president Douglas Darnall cautioned that the district may be facing an insurance-premium crisis that could send it into a $1.5 million deficit in five years.
Treasurer Angela Lewis explained that the district is part of the Trumbull County Insurance Consortium and that a proposed new health-insurance contract calls for a 60 percent premium increase.
The Weathersfield district last paid $664,155 for medical, prescription, vision and dental coverage. The increase would add about $400,000, Lewis said.
As the consortium negotiates, she said, the district will have to start shopping on its own for coverage.
Other than that, district finances look stable over the next five years, Lewis told the board, noting that a levy passed in 1994 generates about $418,000 annually.
Bond issue: Mulgrew pointed out that some items she requested for Seaborn have already been included in a $2 million bond issue for an addition at the elementary building. Construction is to start this month.
Replacing climate control units at the high school also is part of another project.
Lewis said the district is about two weeks away from closing a deal with FirstEnergy Service on a $1 million project to replace the roof and the heating and air-conditioning system of the high school.
The treasurer said the district has allocated $100,000 annually to repay the loan for that work, as well as $60,000 annually for buying buses and $60,000 for building improvements.