MERIDEN — School officials have submitted a revised 2022-2023 budget request of $104.8 million, a figure that represents a 3.94% increase over current spending levels.
The Board of Education’s finance committee discussed the updated proposal earlier this week. The actual projected increase in local spending under the current plan would be around $900,000, said School Superintendent Mark D. Benigni.
The proposal is a nearly $261,000 reduction from a request officials shared in December. The reduction comes from an expected $180,000 savings in out-of-district special education placements and an $80,997 reduction in maintenance supply expenses.
The largest increase is in employee health insurance. The district’s current appropriation is $11.76 million. The budget request for 2022-23 shows a more than $1.9 million increase to $13.708 million.
The next largest increase — more than $1.07 million — is in salaries. The budget request projects a combined $64.18 million expenditure for certified and non-certified staff in the upcoming year.
The budget request does not factor in the school district’s COVID-19 relief funding allocation, which is being tracked separately from the district’s operating budget. Schools Chief Operating Officer Michael Grove said the majority of those funds will be dedicated toward staffing, including tutors and social workers, over the next four years.
More than 50% of the school budget is supported by the city’s state Education Cost Sharing Grant allocation. According to local and state budget figures, Meriden’s ECS allocation for the current school year is $53,783,711.
The city is scheduled to receive that same amount in the upcoming year.
Meriden Public Schools is among 33 school districts in the state identified as “Alliance Districts.” The program, which began in the 2012-2013 school year, provides additional funding for programs and other initiatives to accelerate student achievement. Alliance Districts are required to submit district improvement plans, which are amended annually, to the state Department of Education in order to receive the funds.
The district is scheduled to receive more than $13.15 million in Alliance District funding, bringing the overall proposed spending plan to just over $118 million. Officials anticipate that funding level may increase by another $2.16 million, bringing the local Alliance District funding total to around $15.3 million.
Grove said the Board of Education typically votes on a spending request in January. The request is sent to the city manager, who presents a budget proposal to the City Council in March.