Waterford school board seeks 1.44 percent budget increase

Waterford - The Board of Education will seek a budget of $45,162,491 for 2014-15, school officials announced at a Board of Education budget workshop Thursday night.

The budget is $639,723 - or 1.44 percent - more than the current budget.

"This budget that you have in front of you supports excellence in the Waterford schools," Superintendent Jerome R. Belair told the board. "We are a good system, we are a very good system and we are a school district that really wants to be great. Our goal in all of this is to move the school system forward."

The proposed budget includes increases for salaries, tuition for students who attend schools in other districts and technology improvements. The budget decreases funding for sick leave payouts, student transportation and fuel oil.

Robert Sirpenski, the district's director of finance, noted that the district has seen significant savings in energy costs, due in part to the use of LED lighting and geothermal heating and cooling at some of the town's schools.

"I think this ... has been a couple of years of very diligent work on the side of the board to look for cost avoidances in any area that is possible," Chairwoman Kathleen McCarty said.

Last year, the Representative Town Meeting approved a Board of Education budget of $44.5 million. That budget was a 0.73 percent increase over the previous year, the lowest school district increase in more than 30 years.

The board will meet for a second budget workshop next Thursday from 7 to 9:15 p.m. in the Town Hall. The second workshop will focus on districtwide special education, each individual school's funding and facilities/maintenance.

Recordings of the budget workshops will be aired on Channel 22 and will be uploaded to the school district's website, www.waterfordschools.org.

c.young@theday.com

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