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Greenwich School Board OKs $139.8M Budget

GREENWICH, Conn. – A $139.8 million school budget for the 2012-13 school year was unanimously approved by the Greenwich Board of Education on Thursday night. The amount is $150,000 higher than the original budget proposed by Greenwich’s Interim Superintendent Roger Lulow last month.

The budget is a 3.5 increase over last year’s budget of $136.3 million.

It is based on staffing models, fixed costs and utilities, and curriculum and instructional needs, as proposed by the Board of Education. "The budget is designed to try to meet the targets that you've set, and we've built it around that idea," Lulow told the school board. However, the board decided to add more funds to not only address closing the student achievement gap, but also to reinstate a position that was cut years ago from the district’s Advanced Learning Program.

The plan comes in $90,000 under the town Board of Estimate & Taxation’s guidelines, after Lulow presented $60,000 in cuts to the central office. In addition to cuts, operating budget’s savings are due in part to the bidding of transportation services and contract negotiations savings with the teachers' union, Lulow said in November. Teachers settled on a zero percent general wage increase in the next year.

The budget also aims for improvements in science and writing, Lulow said. As part of its success system, the board is hoping to close the achievement gap on the Grade 8 writing as well as Grades 3 to 5 in the math and reading portion of the Connecticut Mastery Test. Another target is to close the achievement gap on the Grade 10 science portion of the Connecticut Academic Performance Test.

The school anticipates a $534,000 increase in tuition for out-of-district special education students; $345,000 for early implementation of a new inquiry-based science curriculum; and $37,000 for programs that emphasize nonfiction writing. Nearly $18 million, a 5.85 increase to the existing budget, will go toward curriculum and instruction under the proposed plan.

The district anticipates an enrollment of 8,838 students, one student fewer than in 2011-12. Projections are based on historical trends and current enrollment. In the next five years, the district predicts a decline of 231 students. Staffing will be down two positions, but one Advanced Learning Program teacher will be added.

The Board of Estimate & Taxation will review the proposal early next year before submitting it to the Representative Town Meeting in May. Public hearings for the Board of Estimate & Taxation will take place in February and March.

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