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.