The Shelton Board of Education (BOE) has approved a $69,470,000 budget for the next fiscal year, based on the anticipation of receiving another $125,000 from the city.
The new budget amount should mean there will be six or seven fewer positions in the school system next year when compared to the current year, including one teacher layoff at Shelton Intermediate School.
The other positions will become vacant due to retirements or resignations.
Mark Holden, BOE chairman, said the revised education budget “minimizes the need for layoffs” but will lower staffing levels by not filling positions.
Holden said some class sizes will increase, “but it won’t be horrible.”
Reflects lower allotment
The BOE unanimously approved the new budget on Wednesday night. It was needed to reflect the lower dollar amount given to the BOE by Mayor Mark Lauretti and the Board of Aldermen during the budget process.
Since then, Lauretti has agreed to give the BOE another $125,000 for operating costs, which is included in the $69.47 million figure, school officials said.
BOE officials said if the $125,000 doesn’t materialize, additional spending cuts will be needed to bring its budget into balance for fiscal year 2015-16, which begins July 1.
Had sought 5% increase
The BOE had originally sought a $4.2-million budget increase (5%), but school officials said during the budget process they could work with a $3.25-million (3.6%) increase to maintain current services and avoid layoffs.
Lauretti and aldermen gave them a $1.5 million (2.2%) increase, but that amount will now increase to $1,625,000 based on an agreement between Lauretti and School Supt. Freeman Burr.
BOE officials had said from 10 to 16 teaching positions might have to be eliminated if they received a lower allotment in the municipal budget.
Layoff impacts elective course
The SIS teacher to be laid off specializes in an elective course that is part of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program, Burr said.
BOE member Arlene Liscinsky said while school board members aren’t thrilled with the lower school budget, the approval of a revised budget will allow the district to “move forward.”
“We do regret that some new programming, which was important to some board members, won’t be able to be funded,” Liscinsky said.