Possible deal in the works in Shelton to fund full-day K, end pay-to-play

The Shelton Board of Education (BOE) put off a detailed discussion of the 2014-15 budget at a meeting Wednesday night because of the possibility the city might provide more funding for school purposes in the next fiscal year.

Mark Holden, BOE chairman, said the BOE received an offer this afternoon from city officials “that contained the components we feel is adequate” to fund full-day kindergarten, eliminate pay-to-play fees, and meet rising special education, propane and other energy costs.

“This is not a done deal, but there is considerable progress,” Holden said.

He also said the BOE must check with its lawyers on the offer, but appeared optimistic about the situation. “The right people are saying the right things at this time,” Holden said.

He said because of the uncertainty, going through the 2014-15 school budget in detail at the meeting didn’t make sense. “There are too many unknowns out there,” Holden said.

Aldermen passed budget last week

Last week, the Board of Aldermen passed a budget with a lower spending increase for the BOE than the school board was hoping to get.

At the time, Holden reacted by saying it appeared the allocation would be inadequate to implement full-day kindergarten this fall or entirely eliminate pay-to-play.

Aldermanic President John F. Anglace Jr. and some of his colleagues, however, said the BOE should have enough funds for full-day kindergarten.

Healthcare deficit

Also during the BOE meeting, school Finance Director Al Cameron said the BOE is facing a possible $158,000 deficit in its healthcare insurance account for the current 2013-14 fiscal year.

The deficit now is higher than that, but is expected to come down as additional payments are received. The fiscal year ends June 30.

The BOE wants the option of tapping into a $212,000 health and dental care reserve fund set aside for such purposes, but isn’t expected to take any action until the exact details of the now-projected healthcare insurance deficit are known.

The BOE is self-insured for healthcare and dental purposes.

If the BOE wants to use the reserve fund, there are a number of formal steps that must be taken — including informing and getting permission from the Board of Aldermen.