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Friday, March 22, 2013

Finance Board Approves $104 Million School Budget

By James Lomuscio

With comments describing Westport’s school system as the town’s crown jewel, the Board of Finance tonight unanimously approved the Board of Education’s proposed $104 million operating budget for 2013-14.

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Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon and Board of Education Chair Elaine Whitney address the Board of Finance tonight. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for WestportNow.com

Board of Finance Chair Avi Kaner said if no further changes are made in the approved school and town budget of almost $193 million by the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) in May, Westport taxpayers could see a less than 2 percent tax increase.

“I’d like to congratulate both the town and the schools for preparing responsible and reasonable budgets,” he said, adding: “My goal, and that of others on the Board of Finance, will be to limit any increase in the mill rate to under 2 percent—below last year’s CPI (consumer price index) increase.”

Finance board member Michael Rea had initially suggested trimming the education budget by $250,000 to encourage the school board to outsource and consolidate services with town government. But after hearing support for the full amount from other finance board members, Rea withdrew his motion and made a new one to approve the $104 million.

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