School board approves $87.1 million budget request

By Lissa Capobianco
Staff Writer
The Southington Board of Education voted unanimously in approval of adopting a budget of $87,072,005, an increase of 3.37 percent from the current budget. The adopted budget for this current year is $84,233,204.
During a recent Board of Education meeting, board members revisited four items in the proposed budget of Southington School Supt. Dr. Joseph Erardi, making several amendments before reaching a full agreement.
According to the Superintendent’s Operating Budget report, the proposed budget for 2014-2015 was $87,259, 873—an increase of 3.59 percent over this current year adopted budget.
Dr. Erardi’s proposed budget requested four additional teaching positions to take the role of Teacher Leader as well as a full-time position for a new administrative secretary. During the meeting, board members called for a reduction of a proposed number of teacher leaders from four to three as well as a request to change the proposed new full-time administrative secretary to a half-time secretary. The Board also voted to add a line item of $10,000 for new musical instruments for the district, as requested by Board member Colleen Clark.
“I just feel if we are doing that for athletics, musicians are athletes of a different variety,” Clark said.
Board members also debated whether or not to keep a proposed $25,000 for the up-keep of the turf field at Southington High School in the budget.
“I’d rather take this $25,000 and use it somewhere else in our education budget,” said Board member Zaya Oshana, who voted to eliminate the request in the proposed budget.
The majority voted to keep the request in the budget. Board members Terry Lombardi and David Derynoski said the item should remain in the budget for one year until the Turf Field Advisory Committee generates more revenue through fundraising.
“It is not a recurring line item—it’s a revisit item,” said Terry Lombardi who voted in favor of keeping the request in the proposed budget. “We need to redirect our efforts toward fundraising.”
“I think it needs to be looked at seriously by the committee, and start doing what the original plan was—to start generating outside funds and not taxpayer dollars,” added Board Member David Derynoski, who agreed with Lombardi.
The school board will present its proposed budget to the Board of Finance on Thursday, Feb. 13.

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