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Greenwich Schools Plan $139.7M in Spending

GREENWICH, Conn. – A $139.7 million proposed school budget for the 2012-13 year was unveiled Wednesday night by Greenwich's Interim Superintendent Roger Lulow, a 2.5 increase over last year’s budget of $136.3 million.

The budget 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 Board of Education.

The plan comes in $92,054 under the town Board of Estimate & Taxation’s guidelines. Lulow says the operating budget’s savings are due in part to the bidding of transportation services and contract negotiations savings with the teacher’s union. 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 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.

Other resources, such as an expanded summer school program, were not included because the board had not had a chance to discuss additional policies. However, because the budget is under the Board of Estimate & Taxation’s guidelines, Lulow said the funds could be used to provide resources for summer school expansion.

The school board will hold three meetings on the budget to hear from the public on Nov. 29 and Dec. 8, both at Cos Cob School, in addition to its Nov. 17 meeting at North Mianus School.

The board is expected to vote on the budget at its Dec. 22 meeting at Greenwich High School and submit it to the town by Dec. 30. 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.

To read the full contents of the budget proposal, as well as additional documents and a PowerPoint presentation, visit the schools website.

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