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Ed. Budget Proposal Calls for Small Increase

Superintendent Karen Baldwin's first budget in Suffield is lean and on target, according to board of education chairwoman Sue Porcello.

Superintendent of Schools Karen Baldwin presented her first budget, a lean but comprehensive proposal, at Tuesday night's Suffield Board of Education meeting.

Baldwin's proposed 2012-13 school budget calls for an increase of slightly less than 2 pecent, about $600,000, of the town's education budget. That overall budget is valued at approximately $31 million.

Suffield Board of Education Chairwoman Sue Porcello was pleased with Baldwin’s work and the budget proposal.

“I think she did a great job,” Porcello said. “She looked at the whole thing in the context of the strategic planning we are doing and came up with as close to a zero budget as possible.”

“It took the hard work from a lot of people,” Baldwin saif. “We tried to balance the economic realities of our time while meeting our educational priorities.”

Handicapped by fiscal requirements of salary increases and rising health insurance costs, the superintendent located cuts through “finding and eliminating inefficiencies without compromising the quality of our educational environment.” The salary increases accounted for approximately $200,000 of the planned increase, with rising insurance costs resulting in another $400,000.

Baldwin is proposing combing two administrative positions, the elimination of a bus route and a second-grade teaching position, changes in non-certified positions as well as a more centralized purchasing program for textbooks and educational supplies.

With the combination of the two administrative positions, Suffield can not only save money but also consolidate the school and special services curriculum.

“I recommended to the board that we combine the two positions into one senior, non-union position to oversee curriculum and special services,” Baldwin noted. “This should enable us to focus on the needs of all kids.”

The board of education has been embroiled in an extensive analysis of the system-wide services for its special needs students. Suffield has hired consultants to review issues brought to light by a concerned group of parents. The reports from these consultants, both from the state and from private firm Blum Shapiro, have been considered in the formation of the new budget and restructuring of the administration, according to Porcello.

Baldwin credited the school principals for their work starting their budgets from zero rather than from last year’s benchmarks. Suffield’s educational platform needed revamping to meet the new state standards in testing and graduation required for the upcoming year.

The proposed budget will be reviewed by the education board’s budget committee and presented to the entire board at its next meeting on March 6. The entire board will then vote on the budget at its March 20 session.

The education budget is a portion of the entire town budget. It needs to be approved by the Suffield Board of Finance and the education budget have its overall, bottom-line figure raised or lowered by that board, although line items may not be changed individually. The town budget will then be voted on by town residents in the spring.

Sami Mehmed Jr February 10, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Okay lets begin. Is the 31 million in addition to the states contribution of approximately $6000 per pupil for 2400 kids? Which calculates to a rough $14.5 million in addition funds or a budget of approximately $45,5 million. The question is being asked in order to fully understand the school budget. Hence cost per child without questioning the $600,000 requested increase. Second question ... Does the proposed budget include the cost to operate and support the new Agri center? Please someone with direct knowledge clearly reply to this post. Thank you.
Larry Edwards February 10, 2012 at 11:20 PM
Is there a copy of the budget online?
Sami Mehmed Jr February 11, 2012 at 12:32 AM
Maybe the proposal is posted on the schools web site!
Sami Mehmed Jr February 11, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Correction for my first posting. The following link documents the ECS, Education Cost Sharing: http://www.governor.ct.gov/malloy/lib/malloy/ECS_FY2013_Proposed_Increase.pdf Suffield school population at 2407, ECS funding $6,082,494. A $42 per pupil increase, (1.41%). Again accept my apology for posting the wrong numbers, but the question is still valid. How does the proposed budget reflect the ECS funding?
Sami Mehmed Jr February 14, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Information received from a knowledgeable source states, the ECS is included in the General Fund figure and the revenue detail is on pages 4 and 5 of the handout(s), ( page 4 Education Cost Sharing is listed under Education Related reveunes). The accounting lesson is sincerely appreciated and I look forward to better understanding / digesting the accounting. Hopefully someone on the School board can address the Agri center cost question previous posted unless Suffield citizens don't have a need to know the operational status / cost of the center!!!!

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