Superintendent Kevin Smith is hoping to generate some parent interest and engagement with the budget, telling the Board of Education at last night’s meeting that, “What’s weighing most heavily on my mind these days is the status of our budget.”
“I’m very concerned that, given the current fiscal climate here in the town, that our budget is going to be taken down, and we’re going to be forced to defer or eliminate programs. I think those reductions will diminish the quality of education that we provide here to the residents of Wilton,” Smith told the members of the BOE.
Smith’s proposed budget reflects a flat, 0.0% increase over last year’s budget, and requests $80,569,905 from the town.
He told the BoE that, expecting the likelihood that the Board of Finance will request further cuts, he has asked district administrators to consider what they would potentially cut or reduce. As potential budget reductions are being considered, Smith has set some priorities. He listed several in the following order:
- trying to minimize the impact on students,
- minimize the impact on teachers;
- continuing to search for efficiencies in operation;
- give consideration to proportional reductions across schools;
- insure school is providing mandated curriculum
- conduct an analysis focused on student outcomes, making sure it’s forefront in decision making
- to be informed by community values–what parents and other residents see as value added in the total program
- look at opportunities for increased revenue–participation fees, parking fees, facility rental fees, advertising income, etc.
An area at risk with potential cuts is the development of the district’s approach to 1:1 devices and technology expansion, which also would impact hiring.
School administrators have scheduled two conversations for parents to meet with Smith on Monday, March 13, to cover the budget he has proposed for the 2017-18 school year.
In emails to parents and notices on social media, parents have been invited to the coffees for the superintendent to “…present information and give stakeholders the opportunity to share their thoughts, questions, suggestions and concerns regarding the 2017-18 Proposed Budget. Superintendent Smith will also be providing information on the fiscal climate at the local and state level, as well as potential threats to the budget and what they could mean for our schools.”
The “Coffee and Conversation” forums on the budget will be held in the Media Center at Middlebrook School: an afternoon session has been scheduled for 1-2:30 p.m. and an evening session is set for 6-7:30 p.m..