Board of Ed Chairman: Spending Increase Due to Personnel, Training, Tech

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Higher personnel costs, together with more teacher training and the introduction of more technology into classrooms accounts for three quarters of the 3.44 percent increase in proposed school spending, according to the chairman of the Board of Education.

Michael Harman 3-6-16

Board of Education Chairperson Michael Harman speaking before the Board of Finance

Michael Harman, chairperson of the Board of Education, spoke early last week to the Board of Finance, as did First Selectman Jayme Stevenson at the official hand-off of their budget proposals for the 2016-2017 fiscal year.

The Board of Finance will gather more information this month and later decide whether to cut or increase the budgets before sending them both to the Representative Town Meeting for final approval. The next 12-month fiscal year starts July 1.

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The Board of Education’s budget request of $93,847,816 is an increase of 3.44 percent over the 2015-2016 budget approved last year by the Representative Town Meeting.

Excerpts from Harman’s statement

[…] The drivers of the Darien Public Schools budget continue to be enrollment growth, the desire to support student-centered learning through the current levels of service and identifying areas of improvement. The budget then incorporates negotiated contractual obligations and fixed-cost increases. The final piece in the process is inclusion of any new initiatives.

This budget submission includes money for significant increases in professional development, the one-to-one technology plan and, on the capital side, actions needed to address significant facility constraints.

This budget builds on the goals laid out by the administration this past summer:

  • Continue the review and strengthening of curriculum and instruction in literacy and math, K through 12th
  • Create a district-wide model for professional development
  • Improve the current continuum of services for special education
  • Introduce a one-to-one technology program in Grades 4 through 12, and
  • Develop a master plan to establish priorities for the future and pursue cost mitigations.

[…]

Personnel expenses, excluding benefits, represents a 2.7 percent year-over-year increase and represents 52 percent of the total budget increase, or a 1.75 percent overall budget increase.

In comparison, the additional professional development and the technology plan increases combined represent 22 percent of the proposed increase, or a 0.73 percent overall budget increase.

Together, these two increases account for almost three quarters of our budget increase.

Watch the meeting

Watch the 39-minute meeting here:

Board of Finance 3-1-16 from Darien TV79 on Vimeo.