STRATFORD — The school board has made some reductions to its proposed budget for 2020-21 but says it hopes to use any money it has left over at the end of the fiscal year to minimize more cuts.

Superintendent Janet Robinson had in January proposed a $120.6 million budget for next year.

The school board in February requested $118.6 million.

Mayor Laura Hoydick proposed a school budget of $117.8 million in March.

Last month, the Town Council approved a school budget of $117.5 million.

During meetings May 28 and June 1, the school board voted unanimously to make approximately $2.6 million in cuts.

But that number is misleading because the reductions were made to the superintendent’s original proposal — not what the board had requested from the Town Council.

The difference between the superintendent’s original proposal and the Town Council’s final number — roughly $3 million and change — means the school board is only looking for roughly $650,000 to close the gap.

The budget proposal eliminates a proposed security director and math coaching positions and their benefits, shaves money off totals banked to pay anticipated expenses like insurance, overtime and high school coaching accounts and re-estimates money saved through retirements.

The board also hopes to narrow its budget gap by applying any money it has left over at the end of this month — the end of the fiscal year — to next year’s budget.

As of Monday, the school district had roughly $873,000 in its accounts, but officials said that will go down as it pays bills for the rest of the month.

“I don’t believe it will be that number,” Robinson said. “It will keep decreasing as we go along.”

Finance Director Susan Nicholson said a more conservative amount would be between $200,000 and $300,000.

No matter what the amount, the Town Council would need to approve the school board’s request, since any leftover money would usually go into the town’s general fund.

The Stratford Board of Education, in Stratford, Conn. July 25, 2016. Photo: Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media / Connecticut Post
Photo: Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media

The Stratford Board of Education, in Stratford, Conn. July 25, 2016.

Board of Education Chair Allison DelBene said Wednesday she has reached out to town officials but no meetings have been scheduled yet.

More Information

Among the reductions made by the Stratford Board of Education to Superintendent Janet Robinson’s original proposal:

$318,000 to reflect insurance savings.

$54,450 to eliminate a mail clerk position.

$99,520 to eliminate a proposed security director position.

$350,000 in retirement savings.

$200,000 in salary reductions for resignations, medical leave.

$183,350 in estimated special education tuition costs.

$250,000 in contingency.

$68,000 to eliminate a reading coordinator position.

$86,000 to eliminate one custodial position at each high school.

$50,000 less in custodial overtime.

$100,000 in anticipated phone savings.

$66,960 less for professional development.

$60,737 to reduce coaching accounts at each high school to $320,000.

$60,000 to eliminate an enrichment teacher position.

$183,802 to eliminate three math coach positions.

$135,000 less in benefits due to eliminated positions.

$75,000 in anticipated savings from reorganizing the HR department.

Source: Draft meeting minutes from the May 28 and June 1 meetings of the Stratford Board of Education’s Finance Committee

At this stage, she said, the end-of-the-year figure is still “a moving target.”

“As we’re making cuts, it’s difficult to say how much we can actually bank on if they allow us to carry over money,” she said.

Also to be accounted for — a roughly $1 million grant the school district is anticipating from the federal CARES Act’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.

That money can’t be used to supplant budget funds, but rather must be used for “eligible activities” specific to the coronavirus crisis, such as technology for distance learning or providing support to families during long-term closures.

Board member Bob DeLorenzo, who voted against the school board’s budget request in February, said not enough of the reductions were taken from the school district’s central office.

“We need to stop cutting kids’ programs and teachers,” DeLorenzo said.