NEW BRITAIN - The chief financial officer for the school district, Kevin Kane, presented the Board of Education with an updated analysis of Mayor Erin Stewart’s budget proposal for the next fiscal year Tuesday night.
In his presentation, Kane compared the mayor’s budget proposal to previous adopted budgets in the city, like the budget the city is currently operating under.
Stewart’s budget proposal increases the budget of City Hall by 10 percent compared to the current operating budget - from $81.5 million to $89.7 million - it flat-funds the budget for the Board of Education at $125.7 million.
While the city has increased the Board of Education’s budget in previous years, it has not been at the rate City Hall’s budget has gone up. If the mayor’s current budget proposal is adopted as is, money allocated to the city will have increased more than 15 percent since the 2014-2015 budget.
In that same time span, the budget for the Board of Education - combined with changes to Alliance Grant funding - will have increased just 2.75 percent.
Last year, New Britain schools were ranked 167th out of 169 in per pupil expenditures in the state. Without Alliance Grant funding, the school district would be last in the state.
“We’re falling farther and farther behind,” Kane said of funding for the schools compared to other municipalities.
Superintendent Nancy Sarra requested a budget of $126.7 million for the next fiscal year, slightly more than a $1 million increase from last year’s budget. If the board’s budget is flat-funded, up to 10 positions in the schools could be reduced.
“There is the potential for several layoffs,” Kane told the board. “Not a large number, but there is potential.”
The Common Council will not adopt a budget until June. Sarra will discuss her budget request with the council’s Consolidated Subcommittee on Thursday, May 18.
In other news of the night, the board accepted several donations from numerous local organizations and groups.
The American Savings Foundation donated $50,000 for the city’s Summer Enrichment Experience program; the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain donated $20,000 for the same program; The Anna Grace Project donated $4,000 to Chamberlain Elementary School; Liberty Bank Foundation donated $2,000 to go towards New Britain Adult Education and the Ryan T. Lee Memorial Foundation donated $760 for New Britain High School’s Academy of Finance.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at email@example.com.