School Budget Increase Expected to be 'Modest'

Business administrator anticipates increase in school budget of 2.84 percent.

After six years of budget cuts, the school business administrator had good news for the Farmington Board of Education Monday night: the superintendent's proposed budget increase would likely be comparatively small.

Mike Ryan told the board that due to various factors, the request would likely be just 2.84 percent. In 2012, the superintendent's recommended budget included a 3.91 percent increase, while in 2011 it was 6.2 percent.

"I think this is something we can be a little bit optimistic about," Ryan said. "What will be coming to the board will be something that is relatively modest."

Ryan pointed to several factors for his projection, which he said is usually pretty accurate, including, existing contracts with all the board's bargaining units and associations, a $250,000 decrease in self-insurance costs from last year, fewer anticipated teacher retirements, reduced tuition paid for out-of-district special education students and a reduced price for fuel oil.

He did factor into his projection a couple of positions in anticipation of principal requests and a reduction of $91,000 for the possibility of sequestration.

Superintendent Kathleen Greider said that the projection is certainly not the final budget, rather a "first glance."

"We present a budget forecast based on our five-year goals, our mission, bringing forth the current year to next year to give the board an idea of what 2013-14 will look like," she said. "It's certainly not the budget because we haven't gone through our process."

The process includes a formal building-by-building request made by principals, in which each principal presents the needs and wants of her school. Greider then reviews the requests and combines them with other district costs from salaries to cleaning supplies. 

Greider, Ryan and Assistant Superintendent will meet with principals, the director of special services and the buildings manager to discuss requests from Jan. 2 through 4, then Greider will present her budget to the Board of Education on Feb. 5. 

The Board of Education will consider capital improvement projects on Jan. 7.

Mark Blore December 11, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Good news would be that there are no increases this year, and that in fact, we got rid of all wasteful spending and will need less for next year! 6.2% is horrific news. 2.84% is bad news. 0% is good news. Do more with less - that would be true education at work.
stephen peterson December 11, 2012 at 04:53 PM
This needs to be confirmed by a school board member, but most of those budget-busting highly paid school administrators are a direct result of all the bureaucratic dead-weight mandates shoved on us by the CT legislature as well as the cancerous Federal Dept of Education - and guess what the majority of voters said in Nov they want MORE of this BAD public policy. School vouchers and free market competition would work wonders for cost effectiveness of education, and (heaven forbid) repeal of the CT statutes that perpetuate the public employee unions and these criminal arbitration laws.
Kaitlin Glanzer December 11, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Stephen, I can tell you what Board of Education members would say (because I've heard this conversation many times) - Farmington is ranked among the lowest for administrative costs (I think its 160 of 169 CT towns) because the district has very few administrators compared to other districts and many of them also teach or serve in multiple positions.
stephen peterson December 11, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Kaitlin my comment has nothing to do with Farmington compared to the other 169 CT towns. It has to do with (1) Farmington as compared to an out-of-state town with a less-bloated state government, and (2) Farmington as compared to a town in another country with a national govt that is not totally insane fiscally as ours now is. Our education spending woes in part trace right back to washington and the growing body of education regulations/mandates drawn up by growing ranks of federal employees. I would refer you and all your readers to innovative gov. policies around education reported by heritage.org. Innovation coming out of Utah comes to mind.
Ron Harrison December 13, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Kaitlin McCallum: Please tell us in what year was there a budget cut from the year before. The budget has been increased over the year before in every case. The claim by the administrators is like a teenager wanting a new Porsche and his parents give him a Mustang and the young person telling people he did not get a car. Ron Harrison


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