New Britain City Journal

New Britain's Weekly Online Newspaper

Feature News

BOE to Vote on 11 Percent Budget Increase


On Monday, the Board of Education (BOE) will vote on whether to approve and send a budget to the Common Council that has an 11.24 percent increase.

The 2016-17 budget request increase is $137,047,362. The present board of education budget is $123.2 million.

“This budget is directly aligned to our district improvement plan which cites our clear and urgent need for reading teachers, intervention services and special education teachers as well as additional elementary classroom teachers,” said Sharon Beloin-Saavedra, board of education president. “Education is a direct service and requires optimal conditions for optimal growth. We must take care of both academic and facility needs to provide the conditions in which our children can learn and grow in a safe culturally relevant environment.”

Last year the BOE also asked for an 11 percent increase and did not get an increase from the City. This year may be no different.

“It is too early in the process to determine much more than to say an 11 percent increase to the BOE from local funds is unrealistic,” said Ald. Daniel Salerno. “I think the BOE knows that. I promote the continued public dialogue and paying close attention to the budget development process.”

There will be plenty of time for residents to let the Council know how it feels about the budget.

“The Council and BOE are planning to have a joint budget session – we are working to define a date and time and will share once we do,” added Ald. Jamie Giantonio. “Additionally the council will hold a public budget hearing as always, but this year we are trying to set the date and time earlier in the process and also ensure the meeting is scheduled well in advance so citizens have some notice.”

Salerno also added that he is willing to discuss the budget with residents in more detail during his Coffee for Open Government meetings he holds once a month.

The BOE budget includes 80 new full time positions including 17 paras, 13 special education teachers, 2 speech pathologists, 2.5 nurses, 2 behavior support personnel, 1 custodian, 1 security guard, 5.5 office clerks, 1 transportation manager, 1.5 secretaries, 2 media teachers, 1 guidance counselor, 12 reading teachers, 1 gifted teacher, 10 classroom teachers, 2 fine arts teachers, 3 coordinators and 2 Assistant Principals. The positions cost is $5.8 million.

Non-personnel proposed additions increase by $1.9 million.

The status quo increases to budget are $6 million, according to Beloin-Saavedra.

Status quo operational increases include: personnel contracts $3.8 million, tuition for magnet, $1.5 million for special education and $634,207 for transportation.

“This budget includes curriculum expenditures in the areas of text books, library books and technology,” said Saavedra. “It is maintaining our commitment to the City Council (after they bonded materials for BOE several years ago ).”

The current per pupil expenditure is $13,036. This budget request would bring the per pupil expenditure up to $14,300 which is an increase of $1,241 per student.

Hartford spends $19,336 per student. New Haven spends $17,000 per student. Waterbury spends $15,013 and New London spends $15,252 per student. CREC averages $17,443 (based on NB average of tuition ) per student.

New Britain ranks 158th out of 166 school districts in per pupil expenditures.

City funds (local taxes) contributed towards education for the current year are $45,585,356. Next year’s request is $59,359,070.

State funding in city budget (revenue) for education is $77,614,644. The State Alliance grant given directly to the BOE is $12,749,366.

The BOE vote will take place Jan. 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the board of education offices meeting room.

Mayor Erin Stewart is presenting her proposed budget to the Council on April 13. The Council needs to adopt a final budget by June 8.