After three days of budget discussions, the Board of Education passed its budget for the 2011-12 year just after 1 a.m. with a 5.79 percent increase over the current budget. The motion passed 8-1, with Jon Landry opposing.
The proposed budget totals $54,472,399 — $2,981,207 more than 2010-11. On Saturday, Superintendent Kathy Greider brought her budget to the table at a 6.21 percent increase, which the board cut down during Tuesday’s meeting.
Chairman Mary Grace Reed indicated the budget reflects a .73 percent increase in self-insurance, a 1.06 percent increase for special education, a 3.53 percent for salaries and a .47 percent increase for all other operating expenses.
Greider has said the increase includes about $700,000 in grant eliminations or reductions. In addition, contractually obligated salary increases include 2.65 percent general wage increase for teachers, 2.35 percent for administrators and 3.4 percent for classified staff. Some teachers, on step and scale, are set to receive a 2 percent step increase.
Landry thanked and commended the superintendent and her staff for their hard work on the budget.
"We reviewed each item line by line and it’s important to remember that every part of this budget directly affects the children and we all made very difficult decisions. I did not cast my vote lightly. We are still in very trying economic times, and I can not in good conscience support a 5.79 percent increase and the subsequent tax hike at this time," he said. "I continue to remain hopeful and optimistic that we can preserve programs and won’t require such a high increase."
The school budget now moves to the Town Council for consideration.