Plan on funding Shelton full-day K and pay-to-play could be released Friday

The details of an agreement between the city of Shelton and Board of Education (BOE) could be announced today to help provide enough funds to pay for full-day kindergarten and to eliminate pay-to-play fees.

Details of the plan had not been released yet as of early Friday, but appear to involve allowing the BOE to use capital bonding money on the city side to pay for certain capital expenses, freeing up some funds in the school system’s operating budget to use for other purposes.

Capital expenses cover assets that are supposed to last awhile, such as those involving buildings, technology, furniture, vehicles and various kinds of longer-term equipment.

'We're very close'

Education representatives and city officials — including School Supt. Freeman Burr and Board of Aldermen President John F. Anglace Jr. — have been meeting in recent days to finalize the agreement, after the new city budget was approved last week by the Board of Aldermen.

“We’re very close,” Burr said Thursday about a possible agreement being announced.

Anglace agreed. “The people told us to get together and just work this out,” Anglace said Thursday. “We’re in this together.”

Two views of budget’s impact

The approved fiscal year 2014-15 budget left many major players on the two sides offering differing views on its impact — with BOE Chairman Mark Holden saying full-day K now was “unlikely” and eliminating pay-to-play fees also probably wouldn’t happen, while Anglace insisted there was enough money in the budget for the BOE to accomplish both goals.

Other funding challenges that may be impacted by the possible agreement include higher-than-expected school bus propane costs for both the current and upcoming fiscal years, and rising special education costs and building energy bills.

School budget to go up 3.4%

The BOE originally had requested a 5.4% spending increase, but will get 3.4% under the Board of Aldermen-approved budget. Lauretti had recommended a 3% spending increase.

School officials have said full-day K would cost about $950,000 in its first year, but they need only from $350,000 to $450,000 in new operating money to make it happen. Some of the other full-day K expenses would be paid through the city’s capital budget or be offset by teacher position reductions expected in other grades by declining enrollment.