A stalemate between Republicans and Democrats on the Board of Apportionment and Taxation (A&T) caused the board to not vote on the education side of the proposed 2015-16 budget. The three Republican members and the three Democratic members disagreed on how much to give the school system, but they did vote on how much to provide the city side \u2014 or non-education part \u2014 of the budget. They added a small amount \u2014 about $200,000 \u2014 to the municipal side of Mayor Mark Lauretti\u2019s proposal in a series of about a dozen unanimous votes. Difference: $1.5M more vs. $3.25M more Republican members wanted to give the Board of Education (BOE) $1.5 million more than in the current budget, which is the amount recommended by Lauretti, a Republican. But Democratic members wanted to give the BOE a $3.25-million increase, an amount that school officials have said is needed to keep all current services and personnel, or what is called the \u201crollover\u201d budget. \u201cWe\u2019re agreeing to disagree,\u201d said Charlotte Madar, A&T chairman and a Republican. The Board of A&T serves as Shelton's finance board. The BOE has requested an increase of $4.2 million, or 5%, but School Supt. Freeman Burr said during an A&T workshop he realized some city officials might consider that amount to be too high. 'You can't take it away' Madar was concerned that any new money added to the BOE budget for 2015-16 would have to automatically be matched in future years due to state education laws. \u201cOnce you give it to them, you can\u2019t take it away,\u201d Madar said. She also said the school district\u2019s enrollment has been declining for years, and this should mean \u201cless expenses.\u201d Madar said Lauretti is meeting with school officials \u2014 including Burr \u2014 and more funds likely will be provided on the city side for school-related purposes if necessary, especially to avoid any possible layoffs. \u201cThey\u2019ll get everything they need,\u201d she said. \u201cWe\u2019re torn,\u201d said Republican A&T member Joseph J. Palmucci. \u201cOn one side we hear [the BOE] pleas, but we don\u2019t know where we\u2019ll get the money.\u201d \u2018At a minimum\u2019 Louis Dagostine III, a Democrat on A&T, said a $3.25-million increase for the BOE was needed \u201cat a minimum.\u201d Without it, he said, layoffs and program cutbacks in the school system were possible. Dagostine said the situation was \u201cdisheartening.\u201d Another Democratic A&T member, Joseph Knapik, termed it \u201cunfortunate.\u201d Knapik said A&T \u201cshould at least fund the BOE rollover costs \u2026 so they can pay their bills.\u201d Republican John Belden said he also was concerned about the possibility of teacher and tutor layoffs or the return of pay-to-participate fees for sports and extracurricular activities. Belden indicated he was in favor of finding an amount \u201csomewhere in the middle.\u201d There was a brief discussion of what happened during the budget process in 2009, when the school system was forced to cut staff due to its allotment that year. Mayor Lauretti\u2019s view Lauretti, who was not at the meeting where A&T voted on the budget, has questioned if the BOE needs all the money it has requested. \u201cThey say the same thing every year,\u201d Lauretti said. \u201cIt\u2019s ridiculous. This is not about the kids. Look at how much people [BOE staff] make, how many people they have, and what they retire with. It\u2019s not fair what goes on.\u201d He said if the Board of Aldermen provides too much to the BOE, he could reject the budget. \u201cIf I have to veto it, I\u2019ll veto it,\u201d he said. Lauretti has proposed a $120.69-million budget with no tax increase. In his plan, overall spending would go up by 1.7% and BOE spending by 2.2%. By charter, the mayor is an ex-officio member of A&T and may break any ties. Aldermen next in budget process Madar formally presented the A&T budget to the Board of Aldermen on April 23. The aldermen then will vote to finalize the budget, subject to possible vetoes by Lauretti, and set the mill rate. Madar said A&T members she would explain to the aldermen \u201cwhy we did what we did,\u201d going over the changes made and the education budget stalemate. Her presentation would include some recommendations, based on feedback from A&T members, she said. This will include that all department heads attend an A&T workshop, departments explain in writing any unspent money in their budgets, having a full-time computer consultant on the city side, improving the emergency communications system in White Hills, and upgrading playgrounds. Madar said she would make \u201ca strong request that department heads show up\u201d at the A&T meeting in which their department will be discussed. \u201cWe should be able to question them,\u201d she said. \u201cIt should come from a higher-up. One night a year, give us 10 minutes.\u201d D\u2019Agostine agreed this was necessary. \u201cOut of respect for us, out of respect for taxpayers, they should show up or at least answer questions. \u2026 What we shouldn\u2019t be doing is chasing people," he said.