WALLINGFORD — The school board voted unanimously Tuesday to send a $104 million budget request to the mayor for the 2019-20 fiscal year, an increase of roughly $2.5 million, or 2.5 percent.
Representatives from the Board of Education are scheduled to review the proposed budget with Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. next month as part of the budget he will present to the Town Council.
The board arrived at the request amount on Feb. 6 during an operations committee meeting.
Superintendent Salvatore Menzo made the initial budget presentation to the board, with a 5.67 percent spending increase, on Jan. 14, and budget workshops took place Jan. 23 and Feb. 6, reducing the proposal to a 2.89 percent increase, and finally a 2.5 percent increase.
Roxane McKay, board chairwoman, said Tuesday she wanted to acknowledge Menzo and the central office staff for working on the budget since October.
“I think it’s a very appropriate budget,” she said, “It is not asking for a lot. I think we’re being prudent, and responsible, and respectful to the local taxpayers.”
The budget includes funding for two items in the strategic plan: a medical careers teacher and part-time communications specialist.
The medical careers teacher would work at Lyman Hall High School and be paid a salary of $78,239. The communications specialist would be a public information officer, maintaining school district social media accounts and assisting Menzo with media inquiries, at a salary of $31,200.
The rest of the budget is for sustained services, which represents costs needed to maintain the school district and includes increases for contractual obligations, insurance and transportation.
Anticipated losses in state revenue are reflected in the sustained services budget.
“Everybody has a stake in this,” McKay said, “and everybody at each school makes up their budget… It’s constant conversation, constant analysis.”
Menzo said there were 83 questions generated during the budget workshops that they answered as a team.
He said, according to a list of 18 reported budget requests statewide by the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education and the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, some proposals are seeking increases of at least 3.5 percent.
“I do appreciate the fact of where we are,” he said.
The current education budget represents a 1.17 percent increase over the previous year, after the school district returned $411,612 to the town prior to the adoption of the spending plan last June. Last year, the board requested a 2.42 percent spending increase, and Dickinson reduced that to 1.58 percent.
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