1.5 percent increase proposed for 2013-14 New London school budget

New London - The Board of Education will put forward a 1.5 percent increase in its $40.4 million proposed 2013-14 budget, which members of its Finance and Audit Committee began to review on Tuesday.

Currently, the district is operating with a $39.8 million budget.

Superintendent of Schools Nicholas Fischer acknowledged that the increase is small, but said the district must first ensure it can fund negotiated salary increases, the increases to transportation and fringe benefits before it can add to other programs.

Committee members Delanna Muse, Margaret Curtin and Bill Morse reviewed the $10.06 million Central Services portion of the proposed budget, which includes operations under the superintendent's office and the business office.

Thirty percent of the district's 2013-14 proposed budget is dedicated to Central Services while 70 percent, or $23.5 million, goes to the district's six schools. Central Services includes the Board of Education; the superintendent; the chief academic officer; student services; magnet schools; talent development; finance; technology and operations/transportation.

Maria Whalen, the district's director of business and finance, said $735,528 of the Central Services budget is grant funding and could change pending the final outcome of the legislative session. Under Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's proposed biennial budget, a total of $25.1 million in Education Cost Sharing Grant funds has been allocated to New London.

This year's proposed budget also includes $1.5 million for out-of-district transportation, $4.6 million for out-of-district tuition and $676,500 for adult education. However, during the committee's review on Tuesday, those three categories were excluded from the budget review, singling out Central Services and schools with a combined budget of $33.5 million.

The committee is scheduled to review the individual school budgets at 6 p.m. today.

A public hearing on the proposed budget is scheduled for next Tuesday, with a final budget review immediately following that meeting. The board's budget is due to the mayor on March 15.

The meetings will take place at 6 p.m. on the third floor of the Science and Technology Magnet High School.

j.hanckel@theday.com

UBOX:

Central Services 30 percent or $10,069,291 of the proposed 2013-14 budget

Board of Education: $281,351

Superintendent: $310,950

Chief Academic Officer: $579,784

Student Services: $2,831,139

Magnet Schools: $150,962

Talent Development: $1,274,598

Finance: $1,251,806

Technology: $1,075,335

Operations/Transportation: $2,306,366

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