Monday, January 07, 2013
Proposed School Budget Shows 5 Percent Jump
By James Lomuscio
During a preliminary talk tonight about the 2013-14 school budget, Westport Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon braced the Board of Education for 5.15 percent increase over the current year.
Superintendent of Schools Elliott Landon explains his draft budget request tonight as members (l-r) Michael Gordon, Michael McGovern, and Elaine Whitney listen. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com
This year’s school budget is $100.38 million, making the requested increase almost $5.2 million.
“I wish I could have brought it in at a lower level,” Landon told the board, “but there comes a point where you can’t get blood from a stone.”
Landon pointed to the inflationary component of heath insurance, workers compensation, the need for installing wireless access at Kings Highway and Coleytown Elementary Schools, plus the need for a 10-year accreditation.
“From my perspective, this budget is not only educationally sound, but fiscally conservative,” said Landon, adding that it continues “to support the work our teachers and administrators have undertaken.”
Regarding the so-called “low hanging fruit” that each year makes its way to the cutting board at budget time, Landon quipped, “This year they’re ain’t no more left.”
“Not only can we not cut what we cut in the past, but we have mandates,” Landon said.
The school board plans to hunker down with the budget all day Friday in the McManus Room of the Westport Public Library.
Assistant Superintendent of Business Nancy Harris said that the full budget will be available to the public online by Friday, possibly as early as Wednesday.