Public Hearing Set for Stamford 2014-15 Schools Budget

Stamford Public Schools Superintendent Winifred Hamilton and the Board of Education are set to put the $250 million 2014-15 operating budget up against public comment at a hearing to be held at Westover Magnate School in February.

On Thursday, February 6, starting at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the school at 412 Stillwater Avenue, the public is invited to attend and issue feedback for the $250,874,133 Operating Budget announced this January. A 2.37-percent increase over last year's budget, Hamilton also detailed in a letter to School Board President Geoff Alswanger a request for a $25,297,347 Grants Budget, bringing the grand total to $276,016,478.

The 2.37-percent increase is broken down to include the following:
  • .43-percent for struggling learners
  • .39-percent for elementary enrollment increases
  • .37-percent for meeting contractual obligations
  • .36-percent for transportation for elementary, middle and Wright schools
  • .34-percent for 12 middle school teachers
  • .21-percent for program needs
  • .21-percent for custodial and reserve positions
  • .06-percent for elementary school language

Hamilton praised the increase as being the second-lowest in at least the last 15 years and credited favorable results in health insurance claims and $2.6 million in budget efficiencies from the previous year. This was even in consideration of the fact that Stamford is facing average school sizes of 650 students, the addition of 700 new students over the last few years (with a 1.5-percent increase of 246 students expected this year), and the need for additional staff to address struggling students.

The district is also looking to implement Phase II of its security improvements after the implementation of Phase I, which included new cameras and buzzers where possible, security alert buttons for adults in schools, and the contacting of an architect to discuss the feasibility of planters and vestibules for doorways. Phase II includes the securing of a state reimbursement grant to supplement up to $2 million in city and district security upgrades for reimbursement of up to $626,266.

Following the public hearing on February 6, the Board of Education will vote on it on Feb. 11, before the budget heads to the Mayor's desk on March 1, the Board of Finance in April and the Board of Representatives in May.


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