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    Saturday, August 20, 2022

    Montville Board of Education to discuss $41.7 million proposed budget and more Wednesday

    Montville — The Board of Education will meet Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the high school's library to discuss the proposed $41.7 million budget for 2022-23.

    Superintendent Laurie Pallin presented the recommended budget Feb. 15 to the Board of Education and the public. The proposal contains a 4.81%, or $1.9 million increase, compared to the current budget.

    Pallin at the Feb. 15 meeting said the number is a lot higher than she would like it to be but was necessary to "achieve the board's mission." She added there were many reductions to the budget in years prior and officials were now seeing increases in many areas.

    A significant portion of the budget request, about $13.4 million, is offset by state education funding.

    Leading the budget's growth are out-of-district tuition costs, accounting for 44.5% of the increase. Salaries are also driving the budget's growth, making up for 28.4% of the increase.

    As for tuitions, the district is required to cover costs of regular education students who choose to attend magnet and Vo-Ag schools as part of a state-funded grant. The costs are based on students enrolled at each school with 157 students this year enrolled in magnet, Vo-Ag or other secondary choice schools. Projecting increases in secondary students attending these schools, the proposed budget requests $823,496 for the next fiscal year.

    The $2.4 million tuition budget also covers the cost of private school tuitions for special education outplacements.

    Pallin said the district's enrollment is no longer decreasing and staying constant. Based on the current school year and subject to change, the district has 1,942 enrolled students.

    The board is also likely to reach a decision on whether the high school and Leonard J. Tyl Middle School should continue using the "Indians" nickname and strip their M and T logos of any Native American symbols. Conversations on the matter have been ongoing for years between school and town officials and representatives from the Mohegan tribe, Pallin said in July.

    The board must now reach a decision on the matter after a budget bill passed last summer would allow $1.4 million in funding to be withheld from the schools for the use of a Native American-related name as soon next year.

    The bill states cities and towns have until June 2024 to inform the state Office of Policy and Management of intent to change the names and mascots, or get written permission from tribes to keep them. Otherwise, the municipalities will lose funding from the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan fund starting in June 2023.

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