Hearing Saturday on $102 million for schools
Ridgefielders will have their first opportunity to comment on a proposed $102 million schools budget on Saturday.
The 10 a.m. public hearing at Scotts Ridge Middle School will give Ridgefielders their first chance to offer reactions to the 2020-2021 spending proposal that Interim Superintendent JeanAnn Paddyfote presented to the Board of Education in mid-January.
The second public hearing is scheduled for Feb. 10, at 7 p.m. in the school board meeting room of the Town Hall annex.
Paddyfote’s budget, a proposed 4 percent spending increase, envisions adding two new employee positions — a second social worker at the high school, and a director of security position who would be part of the central office administration and oversee safety in all nine school buidllings.
The $102 million budget proposes just under 480 “certified” positions — teachers, principals, guidance counselors, librarians and other staff required to have education certificaiton from the state. The budget calls also calls for nearly 255 “non-certified” positions, ranging from nurses and therapists to custodians and technology specialists.
After hearing from the public at the two hearings, the school board will review, possibly modify and eventually approve a version of Paddyfote’s request that will become the Board of Education’s proposed budget, to be sent on to the Board of Finance and the Board of Selectmen.
The process allows the selectmen to send a “non-binding recommendation” on the school budget to the finance board. But it is the Board of Finance that will review, possibly change, and then approve a final school budget to be sent to voters at May 12 budget referendum.
The Ridgefield Public Schools’ kindergarten-through-12th grade enrollment is projected to decline from 4,627 this school year to 4,559 in 2020-21, according to an enrollment study presented last November by consultants from Milone and MacBroom.