Tuesday, February 15, 2022
Dear Watertown Public Schools Faculty and Families,
I hope this email finds you well. Here are two important pieces of information that were shared at yesterday's regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting.
Optional Masking Effective March 1, 2022
The Watertown Public Schools will move to optional masking effective March 1, 2022.
Last night, the Governor's executive orders were extended by the Senate to continue the mask mandate until February 28, 2022. Based on this updated information, all WPS employees and students can begin optional masking March 1.
In preparation for this transition and in partnership with our local area health department and DPH, we will continue to follow our current Covid mitigation strategies in all of our schools.
At this time, CDC has not changed the federal guidance for mask wearing on buses. CT schools are still currently waiting to hear about the wearing of masks on school transportation. However, I once again anticipate that we will receive an update very soon regarding masking on buses and it will be shared with the WPS community immediately.
This is a big step for all schools and as always we will try to make this transition, just like the many transitions we've had over the course of this pandemic as smooth as possible for our students, faculty and families.
FY 23 Superintendent's Proposed Budget
All FY 23 related budget documents and materials can be found on the budget website by clicking here.
Yesterday, the FY 23 Superintendent's Proposed Budget was also presented. The priorities of our school district budget continue to focus on our BOE goals and the themes of "fortifying the foundation and programmatic growth". With the unrelentless goal of providing our students the best possible educational experiences WPS aims to set a landscape so all students can:
- achieve academic excellence,
- grow socially and emotionally,
- cultivate a sense of mental wellbeing and awareness, and
- transfer the ability to grow their knowledge in our vision of the graduate characteristics and skills.
WPS fiscal resources are dedicated to supporting our organization become more aligned, innovative, and authentic in all that we do.
The FY 23 Superintendent's Proposed Budget is a total of $50,546,587 which is a Total Increase $2,456,720 or 5.11%.
Our FY 23 investments will be focused on four major projects:
1.Expansion of Special Education Programming:
- A second Life Skills classroom will be added to Watertown High School to appropriately program for the additional students who will join the high school next year. As all of our students move from PreK-Transition 22 years, we continue to be committed to keeping our students in district with the programs we currently offer or have the opportunity to build. The expansion of this program offsets outplacement costs for multiple students.
2.Expansion of Special Education Programming:
- A new sensory room will also be added to Watertown High School to provide the sensory services required and needed by our students with special education needs. The sensory room is a required and necessary space that provides sensory input for students with specialized needs.
3.Student and Faculty Instructional Supplies and Resources:
- Last year’s drastic reductions of building based budgets impacted all five of our school buildings. The FY 23 budget maintains individual building budget lines to the same modest levels of the FY 22 fiscal year.
4.Security Cameras at Polk and JTPS:
- In partnership with the 2021 Connecticut School Security Competitive Grant Program (R5 SSGP) the FY 23 budget will pay the local share for the installation of: security cameras at two schools.
+ Summer Enrichment Opportunities:
- Summer programming and tutoring services during the summer months where WPS students in partnership with our surrounding partners can offer students extended academic learning and fun physical activities.
+ Implementation of Phase I of Literacy Curriculum and Resources
- The important continuation of our curriculum work in literacy across all elementary grades will begin in FY23.
As the budget process moves forward, regular updates will be provided to WPS faculty and families.