The Farmington Board of Education adopted its budget for 2013-14 Tuesday night, passing it to the Town Council with a 1.96 percent increase over the current year.
But what’s in it?
Salaries and New Teachers
At $38,304,814, staffing makes up the largest portion of the proposed 2013-14 budget. That represents a 4.53 percent increase over the current year or $1,191,781, according to the budget book.
Part of the increase is a 2.25 percent negotiated general wage increase for teachers, with no step increase.
In addition, the equivalent of 9.7 new teachers would be added for the coming year as well as 11.37 new non-certified positions. Schools Superintendent Kathleen Greider has said many of the positions are needed to prepare for a host of coming new standards and tests, both to coach teachers and to provide tutoring and support services for students.
In addition, a group of special needs students in the elementary-level Specialized Learning Center are heading to West Woods Upper Elementary School, so a new program must be established there. A new program for Emotionally Disturbed students is also being established at Farmington High School.
Two classroom teachers are proposed at West Woods to keep class size within the limits of board policy.
Finally, a technology specialist, to instruct teachers on how to use new technology, is proposed in the budget.
At $524,675, technology is an expensive part of the school board’s equipment budget.
According to the superintendent’s budget presentation, the district would replace 165 monitors at West Woods; 21 Mac computers for art, 10 computers, 3 Macs for music, 1 Mac for the music office, 24 laptops for business and 8 laptops for guidance, all at FHS.
New requests include 47 document cameras at IAR, 100 document cameras at FHS, 100 wireless keyboards at FHS, 3 teacher laptops, one class set of devices at a cost of $17,000 for each of the four elementary schools, 2 class sets at West Woods and IAR, 3 class sets for FHS, 10 special education devices at all schools, 3 smart boards, for FHS, 14 smart boards at IAR and 3-D printers for FHS and IAR.
Greider said that the class sets of devices are necessary for each school to be able to administer the new online Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium test, to which all Connecticut schools will be switching in 2014-15.
Several projects to repair the town’s seven school buildings are targeted for 2013-14:
- ADA compliant doors
- Repairs to arch windows on the 1928 building
- Auditorium upgrades: double loop chain and curtains
- Cafeteria ventilation: fix windows so they open
- Art room cabinets and countertop replacement
- Painting porous block wall in 12 classrooms
- Exterior soffit refurbishing
- Resurface folding classroom walls
- Install carpet in chorus storage room and offices
- Replace damaged auditorium doors
- Replace fixed cabinets with rolling
- Convert third container bay for storage
- Repoint, powerwash and waterproof bricks
- Repair and repaint 11 classrooms and 3 hallways
- Fans for three small rooms
- Cafeteria floor replacement (currently carpeted)
- Restore entry arch canopies
- Replace bubbled window film
- Replace old window air conditioners with ductless split units
- Install corkboards
- Paint classrooms and office
- Replace panic door hardware
Farmington policy, governing benefits for both school and town employees, mandates that self-insurance be funded at 100 percent of expected claims. It also states that the reserve should be reduced when it exceeds 25 percent.
Due to reduced claims, the school district reached the 25 percent reserve level and reduce the budget by the amount over that threshold. In addition, due to the trending of reduced claims, the district was able to reduce the self-insurance fund by $378,966.
The total budgeted for the benefits account is $7,455,497.
For those interested, the superintendent has also included funding for a world language program review, in part due to numerous parents’ requests to see Chinese offered in Farmington. The audit will look at the sequence of instruction and range of languages offered.
The Board of Education will present its budget to the Town Council on March 13.