School board approves 2018-2019 budget plan

UPDATE: The Board of Education on Wednesday night approved a 2018-19 budget plan, which will be forwarded to the Board of Finance and then the aldermen before final approval.

The board voted unanimously to approve Supt. Dr. Elizabeth Feser's proposed budget, with two changes:  (1) The board voted to increase the student athletics account by $4,000 to equalize the amount paid by girls to play hockey with what the boys pay to play.  The funds to cover that increase came from the Trumbull VoAg tuition account.  (2) The board also increased the buildings account by $361,500 to fund the first and second building project priorities submitted by each principal, with members saying it is important the schools maintain their buildings.

In summary, the board approved the superintendent’s proposed 2018-2019 budget, with the additions, for a total of $93,596,655, which is a 1.786% increase over the current year's budget.

EARLIER ARTICLE: The Board of Education may vote on a school budget for 2018-2019 tonight (Wednesday, Jan. 17) when members meet at 7 p.m. in the Board of Education conference room in the Parson’s Government Center.

School Supt. Dr. Elizabeth Feser presented her 2018-2019 budget plan to the Board of Education last Monday night, coming in with a 1.39% increase over the current year, for a total spending plan of $93.23 million.

The proposal increases spending $1.28 million over the current $91.95 million budget, the bulk of that coming from salary increases because salaries are such a large part of the budget. “Salaries for all employees will increase on average by 2.5 to 3.5%, which includes contractual step increases and minimum wage increases,” according to a budget packet presented Monday night.

Several new requests, coupled with reductions in various areas, have produced what Feser calls a very good budget, one that she said continues to improve education in Milford while being mindful of the economy.

The request is slightly higher than the past two years, when Feser presented plans with increases of less than 1%, but next school year she said enrollment, which has been declining, will drop less than it had been.

Among additions to the budget, the superintendent is proposing to add one language teacher at a cost of $60,000 so world language can be introduced in grade six.

“Students would explore French for one trimester and Spanish in another trimester,” she said. Studying a foreign language currently begins in seventh grade.