Ridgefield residents will get two opportunities to speak out about the district’s proposed $93,517,544 budget for the 2017-18 school year.

The proposed budget, a 3.48% increase from the $90,374,229 spent during the 2016-17 school year, will receive public hearing Saturday, Feb. 25, at 10 a.m. in the Scotts Ridge Middle School auditorium.

Those who can’t make the weekend session will have the opportunity to talk Monday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m. before the Board of Education’s regularly scheduled 7:30 p.m. meeting in the Town Hall Annex.

After the hearings conclude, the board will make its final vote on the 2017-18 budget proposal.

Cuts

Superintendent Dr. Karen Baldwin made her final budget presentation at the board’s Feb. 13 meeting.

She said that to meet the state’s 2.5% municipal spending cap, the district had to make tough decisions this year, which includes eliminating seven faculty positions and opting to redistrict the elementary schools to create an even “three and three” split between the two middle schools.

The redistricting option, which would affect 47 graduating fifth grade students this year, was one of the three options proposed by consultants Milone & MacBroom this fall.

Baldwin’s cuts allowed Ridgefield schools to meet the 2.5% spending cap, after carving out special education costs that are not required to be counted under state guidelines.

What’s missing?

A later high school start time — an issue that has been brought up by parents and board members on several occasions — is not included in this year’s proposed budget and is not expected to factor into the superintendent’s request.

Baldwin told the board during her final budget presentation that no savings have been reported  from Montana-based consultants Education Logistics, which was hired in January to optimize the district’s busing routes.