SOUTHINGTON – The Board of Education unanimously approved Superintendent of Schools Steve Madancy’s proposed education budget Thursday, with a slightly reduced increase of 4%.
Madancy had initially proposed an education budget of $104,734,675, which would result in a 4.12% increase over last year’s budget of $100,592,626. However, he was able to find some savings, resulting in a budget of $104,618,146 – a 4% increase from last year. Madancy said that the $116,529 saved was a result of food service contract negotiations.
“We were also able to add $10,000 for a rental facility to assist our ice hockey team and $2,500 to assist the robotics program,” said Madancy.
Overall, Madancy said that the budget “meets the needs of the district while also being responsible to the taxpayers in the community.”
“A 4% increase might seem high, but it’s pretty lean considering that there were no new personnel, projects or equipment,” said Madancy. “Most of it was contractual increases.”
More than 60% of the budget increase came from salaries and approximately 18% of the budget comes from benefits. The budget does not include any requests for new personnel, major projects and equipment or special projects.
The proposed budget does, however, restore full time employees that had been re-allocated last spring due to American Rescue Plan funding. The cost of returning these employees accounts for approximately $600,000 – or roughly 0.60% of the overall budget.
“Without this strategic move last year, positions would have been eliminated,” said Madancy.
One of the priorities when crafting the 2022 to 2023 education budget, Madancy said, was to pursue opportunities to share services where possible with town departments.
Another priority, Madancy said, was to provide funding for expansion and sustainability of technology, with “access and equity” for all students
The next step in the education budget process is for it to go before the Board of Finance. The Town Council will ultimately be able to review or modify both the education and general government budgets before voting on whether or not to approve them.
Madancy said he “feels good” about the budget’s chances for approval going forward.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or email@example.com.