Following hours of deliberations Tuesday that stretched past midnight at the , the Board of Education voted to send forward a budget request for $70,055,794.
The amount represents a more than 3-percent increase in spending from the prior year.
A large part of the increase was due to the inclusion of full-day kindergarten, which amounted to $457,000 in additional costs, as well as $1.5 million in contracted salary increases for staff.
Except for those costs and a few other adjustments, the budget request carries forward essentially the same services being offered today, according officials. Below are the exceptions:
- Reduction of $42,679 as a result of eliminating one of two district transportation coordinators
- Reduction of $16,797 to account for an error in one of the program areas in pupil personnel services
- Addition of $25,000 for required special education professional services
- Addition of $71,477 for staff and program development work and professional educational services to assist in the New England Association of Schools and College re-certification process, curriculum development and other services to help prepare the district meet new Common Core Standards, including in math.
- Addition of $23,369 to allow for the setup of wireless network at Newtown High School
- Addition of $59,093 for a middle school guidance counselor
Education board members were divided nearly every time a vote was taken with a few notable exceptions, such as the addition of full-day kindergarten and installation of a wireless network at the high school, both of which were unanimously approved.
The Board of Selectmen . Taken together with the education request, the town's total spending proposal exceeds $108 million, and represents about 2.6-percent more than what was adopted last year.
The proposal now moves to the Board of Finance, which then will issue a recommendation to the Legislative Council. The council's finance and education committees have the next crack at the budget proposals before the full council deliberates. The final say, however, won't come until April at the earliest when Newtown voters have a chance to cast their ballots at the annual referendum.
Editor's note: Check back with Newtown Patch for more information on the details of what was discussed at the meeting.