BOE covers wide range of topics at meeting
SHARON — Budget discussions have begun for the next fiscal year, which will begin July 1.At the Sharon Board of Education (BOE) meeting on Feb. 13, Sharon’s Region One Board representative, Marilyn Yerks, said the town of Sharon had 102 students enrolled at Housatonic Valley Regional High School (HVRHS) in the 2010-11 school year. In the 2011-12 year, there are 79 students. Yerks said that will mean an approximate $300,000 reduction in Sharon’s assessment.All six towns in the region share the cost of the regional high school based on the number of students attending in the prior year. The number of students at the school in the first week of October 2011 determines how much Sharon will pay in its 2012-13 budget.Yerks also reported that Matthew Harnett, the new principal at Housatonic, said there had been a sexting incident at the high school. Sexting is the use of cell phones to send unsolicited photographs of a sexual nature. In response, the high school hosted a special presentation on sexting on Feb. 22. Parents in the community with children in grade five or higher were invited to attend. A new sidewalk from the front of the Sharon Center School entrance up to Hilltop Road has been approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission. A 4-foot-wide sidewalk, approximately 340 feet long, will be built. Once survey and construction costs are ascertained, budget approval will be sought.The board approved a bullying policy and the school will have an anti-bullying all-school assembly on Monday, Feb. 27, at 1:30 p.m. Families are invited to a separate program on this topic at 6:30 p.m. that day.There will be a student drama production of “Annie Junior” on Friday and Saturday, March 30 and 31. Principal Karen Manning said in her report to the board that, “the eighth grade invites all to attend an awesome spaghetti dinner on March 31 to help raise funds for their Washington trip. Enjoy an evening of dinner and theater.”There was extensive discussion about the plan to hire a middle school athletic director for the region. Region One Superintendent Patricia Chamberlain reported the position as originally planned would have been a half-time job with a salary of $20,000. However, several of the Region One towns said they would not contribute enough money to make that salary possible. It was therefore necessary to scale back the scope and cost of the position (See story, page A1.)Chamberlain said the scaled-back position could be tested for a school year to see if it could work. “If it didn’t work, we would either abandon it or try to improve upon it.”The final decision on this position will be made by the Region One board. However, each of the six town boards of education can make suggestions to the All Boards Committee (ABC), which would relay those results to the regional board.When a vote was taken, there was an even split among Sharon board members about recommending this position be approved as presented. Tortorella said she would report to the ABC that her board was deadlocked.