South Windsor Town Council one vote shy of unanimous support for BOE budget
By Christian Mysliwiec - Staff Writer
South Windsor - posted Wed., Apr. 24, 2013
Approving the Board of Education's $68,123,940 budget for fiscal year 2013-14 was among the tasks before the town council at a special meeting held Monday, April 22. The budget represents a 3.97-percent increase over the current year's budget and would result in an overall tax increase of 3.23 to 3.24 percent.
“We understand this has been a difficult year, as evidenced by the revaluation and the drop in the grand list,” Board of Education Chair David Joy told the town council. However, he stood behind the increase, which was driven by three main drivers: contractual obligations, special education costs and the board's commitment to all-day kindergarten. Joy noted that the cost of the three drivers resulted in a $2.9 million increase, but the net increase was brought down to $2.6 million due to efficiencies, improvements and staff reductions.
“I hope we may have your unanimous support,” Joy said.
“Most of those things we can't do anything about,” said councilor Janice Snyder of the three increase drivers. She said that people move to South Windsor for the education, and urged her fellow councilors to keep up the town's level of excellence.
Councilor Cindy Beaulieu said the board's budget represents “the bare bones of what needs to get done.” She also said the town would “truly benefit” from all-day kindergarten.
Councilor Keith Yagaloff, while stating his reservations for increasing taxes when the grand list has leveled out, supported the budget. “Why should students in a bad economy get a worse education than students a few years ago?” he asked. Still, he warned that such increases will be unsustainable in the long run.
Councilor Saud Anwar, however, took issue with the budget's lack of increased school security.
Following the Dec. 14, 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, a study was initiated to examine school security in South Windsor public schools. If the resulting report recommends additional security at schools, the increased expenditure will be included in the Capital Projects budget. Because additional security was not reflected in the 2013-14 BOE budget, Anwar did not support it.
Anwar was the only councilor in opposition, and the budget passed 7-1.