For an all-inclusive budget that includes 12 new security guards roaming the halls of Stamford Public Schools, Superintendent Dr. Winifred Hamilton said they're going to need approximately $245 million.
Hamilton presented the proposed 2013-2014 budget to the Board of Education during a Finance Committee meeting Tuesday night. In it, she detailed a 3.66-percent increase that would allow for a $245,389,259 budget which would cover the new security force, among other positions.
Hamilton detailed the 451 new students introduced to the SPS system in the last two years, and said the district is anticipating a 310 body increase for 2013-14. She said initially, a 3.98-percent increase had been predicted last year, especially considering the district would be losing a $25 million GE Foundation Developing Futures grant for math, science and literacy.
According to the superintendent, a budget that accounted solely for the increase in student population and maintained the current level of services, the district would still need a 3.29-percent increase. That's just to cover the $16,331 spent per student. Hamilton presented numbers that didn't account for the increased security force as well. With a 3.4-percent increase, that number came in at around $244,789,259.
"If you look at the challenges in terms of enrollment, I think the very fact that, without security guards—which I hope will be something that will be reconciled or supported by the city in helping us—I think [a 3.4-percent increase] with adding 29 positions and losing 12 to the grant, is a great accomplishment," Hamilton said. "People have worked very hard for very long. We've been working on this since September, including late Sunday night."
Predictions for the next three years were also included.School Year Predicted Increase 2013-2014 3.66-percent 2014-2015 3.86-percent 2015-2016 3.79-percent
"I think the staff did a superb job of really balancing priorities, wishes and realities," Hamilton said.
Hamilton said in order to cover all their bases and provide the level of services needed, they would've needed to make 40 additional hires in total. After some juggling of resources and bodies already available to the district, that number dropped to 29 new positions.
In terms of new staff, the .366-percent increase budget covers 8 elementary classroom teachers, 2 elementary specialists for art, music or PE, a SPED teacher and two teacher contingency positions.
In terms of gaining central office staff, which would include:
- the 12 security guards,
- an assistant superintendent secondary,
- a Director of School Improvement and
- 3 special assignment teachers,
the central office would hope to reduce their numbers by seven elsewhere, including the loss of:
- a Chief Academic Officer,
- Director of Language Arts/Social Studies,
- Director of ELL,
- Director of Math and Science,
- GEDF Program Manager,
- Assistant Director of ARTS and
- GEDF 6-8 Science Coach.
Hamilton also presented $1,787,928 cut from the budget elsewhere, including $300,000 saved on utilities after renegotiating rates for electric and oil/heat and $550,000 from "favorable" insurance and benefits trends or retirees covered. The superintendent also said 95.8-percent of the Stamford Public Schools budget covers "fixed costs and contractual obligations (salaries, benefits, student transportation, utilities, etc.)"
"I think you can only clearly state what the board goals were and what we're trying to do as a district and what we're prioritizing and I think my budget recognized exactly what they have asked us to address."