By TAYLOR HARTZ
Before voting on their budget for the 2016-2017 academic year, the Board of Education (BOE) held two public workshops to review the Superintendent’s proposals.
On Dec. 29, Superintendent of Schools Timothy Connellan submitted his suggested budget to the BOE, proposing an increase of 3.47 percent, for a total budget of $92,782,522. The BOE met to discuss each item in the budget, page by page, during two workshops on Jan. 19 and Jan. 21.
Connellan’s budget was mainly comprised of salaries, benefits, special education costs, salary increases, insurance expenditures, purchased services, supplies, major projects, and equipment.
The proposal, said Connellan, was the culmination of months of work conducted by the administrative leadership team, made up of principals from several schools across the district. While Connellan said that “Everything brought to the table was interesting and worthy of discussion,” the administrators worked as a team to prioritize funding.
“The needs, as identified by the administrative leadership team, are far greater than the ability of our community to fund those,” said Connellan in his proposal, “this designed spending plan addresses the most significant needs of the district.”
Connellan’s proposal states that the budget is designed to tackle programmatic areas in an incremental fashion, to be addressed over a period of several years.
Nearly 80-percent of the budget is to be allotted to salaries and benefits, which Connellan said is typical for most school districts, and 3.4 percent of the proposed budget is dedicated to items identified as “major drivers.”
These drivers include wage increases per union contracts, new personnel, salary increases, supplies, and projects.
The budget also ensures that the district meets all federal and state mandates and begins to address long-term needs in each school.
“We have a very long list of issues that need to be addressed,” said Connellan, “and we have to start checking things off that list.”
The BOE plans to adopt the budget at their meeting on Jan. 28.