MILFORD \u2014 Further core instructional development and maintaining effective class sizes across all schools are keys in its 2022-23 budget priorities, according to school officials. The Board of Education, at its meeting Monday, approved the budget priories and assumptions 9-1 in a party-line vote, with Republican Andrew Fowler opposed. Some of the budget priorities, presented in a document to the board during its meeting Monday, are funding for initiatives needed to be placed on hold due to pandemic, but the majority of the priorities are new. According to documents provided by the district, it will continue to develop the core instructional program of literacy, numeracy, science, social studies, world language, the arts and social\/emotional learning through the development of curriculum, high quality instructional practices and appropriate assessment tools. District officials stated they will achieve the goal by continuing to develop and implement PK-12 curriculum, support the implementation of high quality instructional practices, continue to expand world language opportunities, expand summer learning to reach more students, review and revise school schedules, continue to update and expand technological tools and further develop career paths. Another one of the priorities, according to meeting documents, is to provide staff ongoing professional learning best practices and appropriate high quality instructional resources in support of continued improvement in teaching and learning. They plan to achieve this by expanding and growing a professional structure that maximizes engagement of all educators, and prioritizing professional learning that aligns to high quality instruction. The district also highlighted the fact they want to maintain effective class sizes at all levels of instruction utilizing the following guidelines. Grades kindergarten through second, a maximum of 20 students, and grades three to five, a maximum of 23 students. When it comes to the 2022-23 budget assumptions, the board is taking the charge to develop a fiscally responsible budget that reflects the mission, vision and priorities and goals of the district. The meeting documents stated that some of the assumptions included, the district used ESSER 2 and ARP pandemic relief funding to pay for 13 certified positions in the 2021-22 school year. In order to avoid a funding cliff when the grant money expires, four of the positions will be included in the 2022-23 budget. Salaries for all employees will increase on average by 2 to 3 percent, which includes contractual \u201cstep\u201d increases for employees. In addition, the cost of hourly employees will rise as we keep pace with the State\u2019s increasing minimum wage. The cost of transportation will rise by about 3 percent reflecting the contractual increase with Durham, the district\u2019s contracted bus operator.