The Board of Education Monday night approved the superintendent’s proposed $83.9 million 2013-14 budget, which represents a $2.6 million, or 3.24%, increase from the current budget.
The budget has changed little since its initial proposal, except that a much criticized plan to raise $20,000 by increasing pay to play fees was dropped in favor of several smaller cuts.
The discussion of whether $515,000 Superintendent Deborah Low added, to bolster security in the wake of the Newtown school shooting should actually be in the school budget or somewhere else in the town’s overall spending plan, continued.
The extra security costs include $235,000 for two school-oriented police officers, called student resource officers, and one police cruiser. The rest of the money is for hiring eight security guards, which has already been done, and a mental health professional whose exact job description hasn’t been narrowed down yet.
Ultimately the budget was adopted by the board with the “understanding” that the security costs might wind up somewhere else.
Now that the school board has adopted its budget, the Board of Selectmen see the spending plan next, offering a non-binding recommendation to change it or leave it as is. The Board of Finance has to approve it or send it back for modifications, and then whatever version of the plan is finally approved goes to voters in a May referendum.
Read more in this Thursday’s Ridgefield Press.