East Lyme schools finalize budget cuts to comply with Board of Finance's $550,000 reduction

East Lyme - The school board on Monday finalized a list of items to remove from its proposed 2014-15 budget, in response to a $550,000 reduction to its spending plan by the Board of Finance.

The vote by the school board follows discussions over the course of several meetings since the town's public hearing on the budget at the end of March.

The education portion of the town's $65.1 million budget, approved at this spring's referendum, stands at $42.8 million.

The school board removed $39,468 in proposed maintenance projects to replace exterior doors at Flanders and Lillie B. Haynes elementary schools and the high school, as well as replace the roof at the boat house and carpets at the middle school.

The board also took out new positions created to support the state-required teacher evaluation system. The reductions represented $171,568 for two deans of students, $125,019 for an assistant principal and $52,212 for a districtwide technology consultant.

The budget reductions also remove $40,000 set aside for technology resources and $25,000 allocated for a health insurance flex plan that was undersubscribed this year. The budget factors in savings of $36,505 by the district's pre-purchasing of heating oil. It further accounts for a reduction of $60,228 by hiring new certified staff at lower salaries following retirements and resignations.

The spending plan will retain $29,000 to hire bus monitors. The superintendent had proposed implementing bus monitors to free up time for principals, who have more demands under the state-mandated teacher evaluation. Following up on disciplinary issues related to incidents on buses can often be time consuming, principals have said.

Assistant Superintendent Brian Reas said it remains to be determined how the monitors will be implemented, but the district felt they were necessary since the school has had a somewhat difficult year with buses.

"We wanted to leave the opportunity to at least do some trial work with the bus monitors," he said.

k.drelich@theday.com

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