The Greenwich Board of Education expressed an unofficial consensus supporting a revised budget proposal that would be a 2 percent increase more than the current spending plan of $139.3 million.
In their last budget review meeting before voting on the proposed 2013-2014 School Operating and Capital Budget on Dec. 20, the board assessed a proposed budget of $142,099,644.
Superintendent Dr. William McKersie's original budget as Greenwich's school chief called for a proposed year-over-year increase of 2.7% at $143,151,602.
The district's proposed capital budget of $10 million, which is approximately $2 million higher than the $8 million capital budget the Board of Estimate and Taxation expects, was not discussed.
"We asked the Superintendent to show us what a 2% (budget) looks like."
Directed by the board, McKersie and staff prepared a proposal of adjustments to his original budget in response to the budget guidelines approved Nov. 19 by the BET seeking an overall 2 percent spending increase next year. While the finance board's guidelines do not give specific expectations per department, McKersie’s revisions place a “minimum impact on classrooms and student resources,” explained Board of Ed Chair Leslie Moriarty.
Keeping Cuts Out Of The Classroom
McKerise’s proposed budget adjustments includes a “reduction in Central Offices and school support” of $712,000 with additional cuts outlined in the PDF document at right, totaling $1,051,958. Explaining last night that a priority for his proposal was to ensure “minimal impact” at the school and classroom levels, McKersie also said his intent is to “treat personnel with dignity and compassion” while contemplating the reductions, which will likely result in staff cuts.
Since the last budget meeting, the administration has undergone an exercise to “shave some dollars” and identify areas of “internal capacity.” McKersie said they are also taking this as an “important opportunity to do reorganization of Central Office.” Those reorganization plans will be revealed in January, McKersie said.
McKersie was explicit in his understanding of the severity of the situation and proposed cuts. “We are serious,” said McKersie and while the reductions will be “painful," he is confident that the reorganization under consideration will be a move to more of a team approach at the administration level.
Each board member present spoke in general about the budget, Moriarty said, "We are all in this together." Adriana Ospina was absent.)
Patch will dive deeper into the proposed cuts and possible impacts on Monday.