School board backs $165M spending plan
The school superintendent’s proposed $165.3 million budget for 2016-17 was approved unanimously Thursday night by the Board of Education, which made no changes to the recommended spending plan.
School board member John Llewelyn abstained from the vote on the budget, which would rise 2.59 percent increase over current spending of $160.8 million. The budget proposal now goes to First Selectman Michael Tetreau, who incorporates it into his overall municipal spending plans for the new fiscal year. The budget then faces votes by the Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance and Representative Town Meeting.
The final, approved education budget will take effect July 1.
“I am pleased with the board’s approval of the budget as presented,” Superintendent of Schools David Title said Friday. “Teamwork on the development of the budget between the Board of Education and my staff since October of 2015 resulted in a budget that funds the initiatives in the District Improvement Plan at a reasonable cost to the town.”
Funding for some new initiatives and program improvements was possible because of a $3.5 million in savings that was realized by switching the school district’s health insurance plan, according to school officials.
“This is a responsible budget that meets the educational needs of 10,000 students,” Board of Education Chairman Phil Dwyer said. “The Board of Education looks forward to the other town bodies’ review and approval of the proposed budget.”
New initiatives include reviewing social studies and computer literacy curriculum, updating the middle school music keyboard program, and expanding Spanish instruction into the third grade.
One amendment proposed for the budget, which failed on a 3-6 vote, was suggested by Llewelyn. He wanted to add a national assessment program, called iReady, for math students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The district uses a different national assessment, and the iReady assessment would have been used in addition to the existing program.