The Regional School District 13 Board of Education last week approved its final 2019-20 budget proposal. Residents will be able to vote on the budget during a referendum on Tuesday, May 7.
The final number to go to vote was altered by $191,260, due to reductions found in the district’s renegotiation for health insurance.
Total budget expenditures now total $36,819,319, a zero percent gross change from the 2018-19 budget. The total new operating budget is now $36,602,207, a decrease of 2.47 percent or $877,485.
“We thank (superintendent) Kathryn Veronesi for the negotiations with our health insurers … (this is an) amazing amount of reduction in insurance,” said BOE chairman Bob Moore at a public hearing on Wednesday, April 10.
The board had originally announced about $618,000 in insurance reductions, but Moore said as of April 5, the bid amount had been reduced even more.
“The good news for us had to do with the insurance bid process this year, that resulted in very significant savings for the district and for both towns,” Veronesi said. “Those savings actually kind of continued to show up until last Friday, when we realized another approximately $300,000 of savings.”
The reduction can be seen in the benefits line of expenditures, which now totals $5,567,337, which reflects a 14.7 percent or $959,672 decrease from 2018-19. The board’s previously approved budget listed a $768,412 change, with a $5.76 million total for benefits.
On May 6, the Board of Education will host a district meeting. Residents will vote on the budget and capital improvement plans on May 7. Polling locations will be Korn School in Durham and the Middlefield Community Center.
The capital improvement proposal totals $6.9 million, and includes bonding for various projects such as replacing the Pickett Lane culvert and upgrading ventilation or other systems in schools.