Salem - The Board of Finance will tonight review an education budget proposal that includes a 4.08 percent, or $412,633, increase over the current budget.
The Board of Education previously approved a $10,530,888 budget for 2013-14.
The proposed increase is the largest since the 2006-07 school year; the last four years have seen budget decreases or increases of less than 1 percent.
The budget for Salem School itself is actually decreasing by 0.68 percent. The increase comes primarily from the amount spent on out-of-district services, tuition payments to East Lyme High School, and the Salem school district's Central Office.
The proposed budget showed teachers' salaries and wages decreased by $97,147 because of the anticipated reduction of staff by two teachers. Salem Superintendent Joe Onofrio II said the school planned for a reduction of two certified teachers and four aides to prevent increasing the school's budget. He stressed, however, that no final decisions about staff changes have been made.
The Central Office budget shows a proposed increase of 14.69 percent. Some of the increase comes from unemployment compensation, which would increase from $3,000 in 2012-13 to $49,000 in the upcoming school year to cover the reduction of six full-time employees. There was also some increase in health and dental insurance rates.
Tuition payments to East Lyme High School are expected to increase by 2.29 percent in the proposed budget, and out-of-district expenses are also rising to cover special education placements, magnet school tuition and increased transportation costs to those programs.
The technology capital plan is a three-year plan anticipating the school's technology needs over that time period. The recently passed technology plan takes into account the changes that will come to the state's standardized testing in 2014-15. That school year, Connecticut will be switching from the pencil-and-paper Connecticut Mastery Test to a new test that's under development by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. The new test will be a computer-adaptive test that will change the type of questions asked based on the responses students give, trying to identify any deficiencies.
To prepare for the new computerized tests, Salem School will need to increase the server capacity and network drops in classrooms. The technology plan also included some licenses to explore the possibility of virtual desktops for teachers and, eventually, students.