Board of Education approves budget
FAIRFIELD — The Board of Education unanimously adopted the $173 million budget proposed by Superintendent Toni Jones, up 3.1 percent over the current year.
The approval is the first of several stages before the budget can be officially adopted. It will now pass to the Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance and Representative Town Meeting (RTM) for approval.
There were few changes to the Superintendent’s proposed budget, and by reallocating funds from a technology line item, a 20 percent cut to per-pupil expenditure to purchase materials, books and supplies were staved off.
The board voted to reallocate $403,602 from technology to per-pupil allocation to purchase materials, books and supplies.
To make up for the money lost for technology in the upcoming budget, the board has the option of transferring at a later date $403,602 for the pre-purchase of certain technology equipment. The district found health savings this year when the Connecticut State Employee Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC), to which Fairfield Public School bargaining units belong, negotiated lower premium costs with the Governor, effective Oct. 1. The new health plan has saved the district roughly $1 million this year, some of which the board intends to toward the pre-purchase of technology equipment.
“That would free up, in this instance, the $403,000 and change, to be reallocated back to student allocation accounts,” Dwyer said
Resident Suzanne Miska said that while she commended the board for its work on the budget, she believes the board and other town bodies will have to “reset our priorities” in response to uncertain financial times and would have preferred to see the money for materials, books and supplies kept out of the budget.
“I think if we take baby steps by trying this, this year, by not adding back in for supplies and instructional materials, I’d like to see how it works,” Miska said. “Sometimes we’re going to have to make some small sacrifices to keep the things that are most important.”
The board, however, unanimously voted in favor of the budget and the reallocation of the $403,602 from technology to restore the per-pupil expenditure.