No art cuts? School board plans to keep funding for teachers

There might not be any cuts to elementary art teachers after all.  Without a formal vote, the Board of Education said at its Feb. 11 meeting that it would seek to put $109,000 back into the proposed 2019-20 school budget after parents and staff protested a reduction in hours for the district’s six elementary art teachers. The additional funding for … read more

Highway department navigates job cuts

A road crew from the town highway department was out on East Ridge filling potholes with cold patch on Monday. From left are Robert Sommerer, Jim Fortin and Evo Falcinelli. —Macklin Reid photo

Two job cuts saving $141,000 would lead to a nearly 7% decline in highway department spending in the $2.8 million proposed 2019-20 budget for the coming fiscal year. But the Board of Selectmen agreed to consider adding a position to the department’s crew of driver-laborers.  “Let’s talk about it, see what we can do, get creative,” First Selectman Rudy Marconi … read more

Anyone for tennis? Parks and Recreation Commission proposes $4.7-million budget

From pickleball prices and parking plans to staffing shuffles, ramped-up recycling and some 700 acres of grass to be mowed, a wide-ranging discussion framed the Parks and Recreation Commission’s presentation to the selectmen on a $4,736,000 budget proposal that represents a less than 1% increase — up $18,600, or 0.39% — for 2019-20. This request is part of a more … read more

Parents, teachers protest art cuts at school budget hearing

Don’t cut elementary art teachers. That was the resounding message from parents, teachers, and at least one Ridgefield High School senior during the Board of Education’s budget hearing Saturday, Feb. 9, at Scotts Ridge Middle School. “The proposed budget looks to cut this rich learning environment,” said Jennifer Zeyer, an art teacher at Scotland Elementary. She claimed the cuts, which … read more

Selectmen plan budget meetings next week

Four days of budget meetings lie ahead for the Board of Selectmen, with rising health insurance costs threatening to complicate efforts to hold the line at a 0% increase in the selectmen’s $38-million budget for town departments and road work. The Board of Education is doing its own work on a more than $98-million request from Interim Superintendent JeanAnn Paddyfote, … read more

Letter: Wilton vs. Ridgefield school budgets, taxes

To the Editor: Both Wilton and Ridgefield have wonderful school systems and high schools that rank in the top 10 within all Connecticut towns. Wilton’s proposed budget increase for next year is only 1.3% while Ridgefield’s increase is 3.43%. The difference is actually huge and the impact extends to the overall viability of our town. In Ridgefield’s case, if this … read more

Ulmer, Mancini re-elected as finance board leaders

Swiftly, unanimously and without controversy, the Board of Finance members re-elected Chairman Dave Ulmer and Vice Chairwoman Jessica Mancini to lead them for 2019. “We work together real well as a board, and will continue to do that,” Ulmer said after the Jan. 15 board meeting. Ulmer and Mancini are both Democrats. The party holds a 4-to-1 majority on the … read more

Federal tax plan has town aiming for flat budget, health insurance bloc

A federal tax plan signed into law in late 2017 has First Selectman Rudy Marconi concerned — and has the town aiming for a 0% budget increase and considering a measure to create an alliance with other towns for leverage against the insurance industry. The new tax law was one of the first issues raised by Marconi in his state … read more

Tri-board meeting: Town finances look strong, schools’ maintenance lags

Neglected school infrastructure will be getting a closer look from a new committee, the finance board is shooting for a tax increase below 2% next year, and the 2019-20 budget work will start with a projected 5.2% school spending increase while the selectmen — having cut several positions — are hoping to hold town departments to a near-zero increase. That … read more

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