WALLINGFORD — Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. has proposed spending $786,000 less than the Board of Education’s requested amount for the upcoming fiscal year.
School Superintendent Salvatore Menzo said last week that it’s “premature” to speculate on what could be cut to balance the budget.
There would “have to be some changes in the services we provide,” he said, “but nothing at this point impacts the core mission and vision of the district.”
Education accounts for more than 60 percent of Dickinson’s proposed $169 million budget for 2019-20.
The school board requested $104,248,401 and Dickinson proposed spending $103,461,862, a difference of $786,539, or less than 1 percent.
On Thursday, the Town Council is slated to hold a workshop on the proposed education budget, where councilors can question school district staff and school board members.
Menzo answered questions from residents April 8 at a public hearing on the mayor’s proposed budget.
The Town Council can make amendments to Dickinson's budget before voting to adopt a 2019-20 budget next month. If the council does not adopt an amended budget, the mayor's proposal goes into effect automatically.
When Dickinson released his budget earlier this month, Menzo said, school staff began looking at enrollment and special education data.
“We also looked at our grants,” Menzo said, “to see whether any of our grant funding was coming in higher than anticipated.”
The biggest reductions Dickinson made were to salaries and benefits.
While the school district is “not looking to make any additional staff or program reductions,” Menzo said, two new positions most likely will “not move forward at this point,” a medical careers teacher and a school district communications specialist.
Mandated services, like special education and English language learning, are “not being cut,” he said.
Menzo said his team has “done a nice job over the past two years identifying areas for savings.”
The school district returned $411,612 to town last year.
Dickinson proposed cuts to line items for contingency spending, salaries for certified and non-certified staff, employee benefits, professional technical services and other supplies.