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    Tuesday, October 04, 2022

    Proposed East Lyme school budget shows 2.59 percent increase

    East Lyme – Superintendent of Schools Jeffrey Newton presented his proposed 2018-19 budget of $47.7 million, a 2.59 percent increase, to the Board of Education Monday night. 

    Newton said fixed expenses represent most of the budget, with salaries and benefits comprising 80 percent. 

    The proposed budget calls for adding 2.7 new social worker positions across the district and a part-time school psychologist at the elementary level for a total of $208,684. 

    That cost will be partially offset by $152,320 in savings from the proposed reduction of one high school teacher position and one teaching position at Lillie B. Haynes School, due to enrollment changes, Newton said. The reduction at the high school will most likely come through part-time hours, but still needs to be determined, he said. 

    Director of Student Services Kimberly Davis said the new social worker and school psychologist positions are aligned with the district’s long-range plan and district improvement goal of student-centered learning.

    One of the district's goals is to “identify the social and emotional needs of our students and determine supports needed to develop the social and emotional well-being of all children,” according to the presentation. 

    The presentation pointed out that the district’s ratio of students to psychologists is 464 to 1. The ratio for students to social workers is 1,854 to 1. 

    Monday’s budget presentation also stated that the school district is using cost-saving measures such as “zero-based” budgeting, a high-deductible health plan, natural gas instead of oil and propane, a new food program, and the consolidation of software and curriculum contracts. 

    The district has benefited from decreased insurance claims, so health insurance is projected to decrease. Newton said the town and Board of Education are also discussing how to collaborate on snow plowing. To find other savings, the Board of Education is also looking into regional approaches in areas such as health insurance and transportation.

    Newton added that how much education funding the town will receive from the state is still uncertain.

    The next steps for the proposed budget are deliberations by the school board and a public hearing on Jan. 29.

     k.drelich@theday.com

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