At last night’s Board of Education meeting, board member Glenn Hemmerle reported on the most recent metrics comparing the Wilton School District with the other school districts in its District Reference Group (DRG). He noted that the amounts Wilton spends are lower than surrounding districts, “…which makes what we’re trying to do very, very difficult, it’s really tight and really tough.”

Hemmerle sits on the Business Operations subcommittee, a joint working committee between the BOE and the Board of Finance. The Business Ops subcommittee has begun tracking comparative metrics as part of the budget planning process, to evaluate, as Hemmerle explained, “how we’re doing, what does our scorecard look like.”

One data point of note that Hemmerle covered was the average cost per pupil expense for the current budget year (FY 2020). “We are just $500 higher than Ridgefield. So we are the next to the lowest in the DRG in terms of our per pupil expenditure at $20,702,” which he later said, “puts us in a great, great position.”

The list of DRG-A schools and their per pupil expense that he listed include:

Weston:  $22,876
New Canaan:  $21,916
Westport:  $21,348
Darien : $21,112
Wilton:  $20,702
Ridgefield:  $20,202

The other data point Hemmerle shared is a look at is a comparison of the total budget increases over six years. He noted that Wilton’s average increase is “the lowest by far” of all the DRG-A districts.

“Our budget presentations over the last six years, as you know we’ve really been under the gun here in Wilton. For the second of the last three years we’ve had a 0.0% increase.”

He put that in perspective, comparing Wilton’s six-year average budget increase of 1.2% to the other DRG-A Districts, noting, “Clearly in our DRG we’re the lowest by far. That’s a six-year average increase of just barely over 1.0% for the last six years. Which makes what we’re trying to do very, very difficult for us. ”

Six-year Average Budget Increase
Darien:  3.23%
Ridgefield:  2.87%
New Canaan:   2.55%
Weston:  2.5%
Westport 2.14%
Wilton 1.2%

He added that when Wilton Schools are compared to the other districts on other metrics–specifying student performance, grade achievement–”it’s really tight, and really tough, …[it’s] not easy.”