Any extra money for schools this year should go to voters, finance board says

The knock on the door is coming — the schools have been projecting a current-year deficit for months, and finance board members expect a request for an additional appropriation. But they don’t plan on answering the door alone. “I highly expect we’d go to Town Meeting.” Finance Board Chairman Dave Ulmer said Tuesday night, Feb. 20. “We need the public’s … read more

School board approves 4.23% budget increase

After listening to 19 speakers at two public hearings and receiving three different proposals from Superintendent Karen Baldwin, the Board of Education voted to approve a 4.23% budget increase for the 2018-19 school year at its meeting Monday night. The vote was 7-1 in favor of the $96.6 million budget request — a $3.92 million increase from the 2017-18 school … read more

School board plans budget hearings for Saturday, Monday

Got an opinion on school spending? The Board of Education will host a pair of public hearings this week where residents can share thoughts on the district’s proposed budget for the 2018-19 school year The first hearing, which has been moved to the Ridgefield High School auditorium, will begin at 9:30 a.m Saturday, Feb. 24. A special meeting of the … read more

Letter: Teachers are more valuable than iPads

To the Editor: I recently reviewed the 2018-19 Superintendent’s Recommended Operating Budget presentation.   Do any of you remember with fondness any special administrators who made a difference for you when you were a student? Is there a particular computer software program or type of “screen” that you feel made you successful in your chosen profession? I would argue that … read more

School board to discuss spending cap Feb. 12

Does the state’s 2.5% municipal spending cap apply to Ridgefield? That’s the question the Board of Education would like to have answered before moving forward further with its 2018-19 budget deliberations. The board was scheduled to discuss the spending cap at its meeting Monday night but opted to postpone deliberations until Monday, Feb. 12. Chairwoman Fran Walton suggested the delay … read more

State Supreme Court reverses school funding decision (UPDATED)

Never mind. A court decision that appeared to upend Connecticut’s approach to financing public education has been largely reversed by a state Supreme Court decision, putting questions of equity in education firmly back in the hands of state politicians — legislators, the governor — as well as local town and city officials and voters who approve local school budgets. “I … read more

Look who’s paying for lunch: School board allows students to eat if they don’t have funds

School spending might be frozen but that doesn’t mean that Ridgefield students are suffering in the cafeteria. Delinquent meal accounts can wind up costing the district as much as $25,000 per year, Superintendent Karen Baldwin revealed to the Board of Education before it approved a new policy for students whose meal accounts run flat at its meeting Monday night. Will … read more

Superintendent freezes school spending

Ridgefield Public Schools have initiated a budget freeze to stop school spending. Superintendent Karen Baldwin told the Board of Education at its meeting Monday, Sept. 25, that the freeze was caused by several unexpected costs — including special education settlements and late teacher hires, similar to last year — and that the unanticipated spending put the district’s budget into a roughly $1 … read more

Teachers to textbooks: Board eyes cuts

Cutting an elementary school teacher saves $71,900, a special education secretary’s job pays $50,000, and then take $105,000 worth of new textbooks out of the budget — that’s part of a proposed cuts list to accommodate the finance board’s $884,000 reduction to the school budget. The presentation got an unenthusiastic greeting from the Board of Education Wednesday, April 19. “The … read more

Start times talk looms loud at budget hearing

Lobbying for later school start times joined a wide range of concerns — science curriculum, special education spending, a possible school closing — as speakers at Saturday’s public hearing reacted to Superintendent Karen Baldwin’s $93.5-million budget request, which would increase school spending by 3.48% in 2017-18. “Every day we delay in implementing better start times we are hurting our children’s … read more

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