As the new year begins, Brookfield’s 2013-14 budget season is getting underway, beginning with the Superintendent of Schools, Anthony Bivona, presenting his administration’s budget proposal to the Board of Education (BOE) earlier this month. Bivona’s initial proposal request asks for $38,862,940, a $1,826,940 or 4.93 percent increase over the approved 2012-13 budget.
The BOE is currently deliberating on the superintendent’s budget and will deliver their final proposal to the First Selectman’s Office by January 31. The school board and administration will also be giving a joint presentation to the Boards of Selectmen and Finance in mid February.
The largest cost drivers in the superintendent’s proposal are employee benefits, which rose $592,754 or 9.54 percent year-over-year, and salaries, which increased 4.3 percent by $1,026,645.
The increase to the salaries line is due in part to seven new full-time positions, which collectively represent $273,688 of the $24,903,991 allocated for salaries in the superintendent’s proposed budget. The remainder of the increase ($1,026,645) is for $688,427 in contractual salary increases and an additional $64,530 in the budget for substitute teachers.
With the number of students requiring special education services in the district rising steadily since 2009-10 — including increasing from 297 for the current year to a projected 305 next year — five of the full-time positions being requested are to assist special needs students in each of the four school buildings. The proposal calls for two paraprofessionals at Center Elementary School (CES), one certified in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA); a paraprofessional at Huckleberry Hill Elementary School (HHES); a social worker at Whisconier Middle School (WMS); and a full-time special needs teacher at Brookfield High School (BHS).
The other two “full-time positions” are actually three teachers — one full-time and two part-time — to bolster the district’s World Language Program by adding an additional full-time language teacher for kindergarten and first grade students at CES and part-time Mandarin teachers for grade seven at WMS and grade nine at BHS.
The district is also working on implementing a three-phase security upgrade to four school buildings in the wake of the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook shootings in neighboring Newtown. Brookfield’s registered voters and property owners have been asked to attend a town meeting Thursday at 7 p.m. in Town Hall to approve funding for Phase I and school and town officials will be meeting over the next few weeks to work on a funding plan to accomplish the latter phases before the end of the current academic year.
Bivona proposed a 2.76 percent increase in his initial budget proposal for 2012-13, which was adjusted slightly by the Board of Finance and ultimately approved by voters at 2.45 percent.
Historic Budget Increase (Decrease) Data
Percent Increase2006-07 $967,500 3.08 percent 2007-08 $1,221,700 3.76 percent 2008-09 $418,022 1.24 percent 2009-10 ($88,369) -0.26 percent 2010-11 $1,410,762 4.15 percent 2011-12 $732,048 2.06 percent 2012-13 $886,000 2.45 percent Avg Increase
2013-14 proposed $1,826,825 4.93 percent