Proposed 2014-15 School Budget Carries 5 Percent Increase

Contractural increases, more money for medical costs and the implementation of full-day kindergarten is fueling the increase.

Increased special education, medical and salary costs, along with the implementation of a new full-day kindergarten program, are the driving forces behind Supt. of Schools Dr. Greg Florio's proposed 2014-15 budget that carries a 5 percent increase.

Florio outlined the $66.9 million proposed budget Tuesday for the Board of Education, a budget that is $3.2 million more than the current budget.

The district is facing flat state funding and an increase in state mandates, including those connected to the new Common Core Standards. There's also increased fuel costs, which impact both transportation and heating costs.

Salaries and benefits account for much of the proposed increase. Those costs are increasing almost $1.8 million. Special education costs are expected to increase by about $165,000, or 5 percent.

Medical costs totaled 1,185,793 in 2008. Last year that number topped out at $2.1 million, and in 2011 it rose to $3.1 million. For this school year, the costs were up to $1.6 million by Nov. 30.

The increase also includes $856,000 for the implementation of a full-day kindergarten program, the concept of which the school board and Town Council endorsed late last year.

That cost includes an increase in salaries for the additional teachers needed, and one-time costs to retrofit classrooms to accommodate the kindergarteners, and a decrease in transportation costs because the mid-day buses will be eliminated.



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