BOE chief: budget plan responsible, reasonable

BOE chief: budget plan responsible, reasonable


A public hearing to discuss the RSD13 budget proposal drew a large crowd at the high school on April 5.

The Board of Education is requesting a $39.4 million budget for 2023-2024.

“The total budget increase is 3.98 percent, which is much lower than the inflation rate," said school board chair Lucy Petrella, who described the budget as "responsible and reasonable."

Petrella said the Board of Education found the average budget request increase for similar school districts to be 4.12 percent.

“While this budget does include cutting 2.6 staff positions, some from attrition, the RSD13 2023-24 budget does not include any program cuts,” Petrella said.

The RSD13 budget proposal includes contractual raises and additional elective course offerings for Strong Middle School students. Also, $778,000 was budgeted for capital items, including funding to repave Pickett Lane and to replace the turf field at the high school.

Middlefield resident Nick Faiella doesn't think the BOE budget request is unreasonable. “I was surprised, given the inflation rate of 6 percent, that the district was able to put forth a budget with an increase of just under 4 percent, but yet fund all their priorities,” he said. “Essentially, taking into account inflation, it’s really a budget cut, especially when I see other surrounding towns put forth much higher increases." 

Also, Faiella is pleased that "deferred maintenance is finally being addressed” in the BOE budget. “Taxpayers are happy to finally see progress and their tax money being put to good use.”

Another budget hearing will be held Monday, May 1, 7 p.m., at Coginchaug, and on Tuesday, May 2, the budget goes to referendum, where residents will have their say.

Petrella said, “If the budget passes – total vote count majority from both towns – then there will be a budget. If it’s voted down then the board goes back to the drawing board and will most likely cut the budget, which could mean program cuts, as this is a tight budget.”