During its final workshop meeting for the 2014-15 budget, the Board of Education passed a budget proposal on Thursday, February 6, with no increase over the previous year.
The board also tabled a second motion that would have submitted a security budget, separate from the school board's 2014-15 budget, onto the Board of Selectman, Board of Finance, and Legislative Council to review.
Interim Superintendent of Schools John Reed presented his budget on January 23. The superintendent’s proposed operating budget for 2014-15 totaled $71,580,034, which reflected a $534,730, or a 0.75 percent, increase over the 2013-14 $71,045,304 budget.
After Dr Reed explained he believes he can use grant money and move some projects to the current budget to reduce his first 2014-15 budget proposal by $395,249, the school board deliberated other areas where reductions could be made.
Near the end of the budget discussion Board of Education member David Freedman made a motion to reduce the spending plan by roughly $139,000, which represented the remaining increase over the 2013-14 budget, to be taken out of the 2014-15 budget at Dr Reed's discretion. The motion passed after with a 5 to 2 vote.
The Board of Education went on to unanimously pass the 2014-15 budget with no increase from the previous spending package.
As Dr Reed explained to the school board, First Selectman Pat Llodra requested the school board pass a security budget separate of the school district's budget. The total security budget, as outlined in a motion put before the board Thursday, includes $2,440,650 for security projects and $540,562 for armed and non-armed security guards, but grants and other sources are expected to bring the balance down to $43,891.
According to Dr Reed aspects of the security budget, which, as described in the motion, included a planned School Safety Officer Program and building-related security costs, have previously been in the Board of Selectman's budget. Dr Reed also said the plan is to have that budget be a joint responsibility between the district and the town in the future.
The decision to submit the security package onto the other town boards was tabled with the understanding that a meeting will be set to discuss it by Friday, February 14.
A further look at the school board's Thursday, February 6, meeting will be available at www.newtownbee.com on Friday, February 7, and in the February 14 print edition of The Newtown Bee.