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Education Budget Proposal Now at $51.9 million.

It represents an increase of 7.87 percent.

The school system budget proposal for the 2013-14 fiscal year now stands at  $51.9 million.

That represents an increase of 7.87 percent from this year's $48.1 million budget after the Board of Education trimmed more than $300,000 off the bottom line on Wednesday.

Here's how the scenario has played out so far. On Jan. 9, Superintendent of  Schools Mary Conway unveiled a $51,885,043 spending proposal, and increase of $3,704, or 7.69 percent, from the 2012-13 figure of $48,180,997.

That figure represented the first step in a phased-in all-day kindergarten program and some extended day and year opportunities for students. Conway was asked to run the numbers for all-day kindergarten in all five of the town's elementary schools and extended learning opportunities for all students. The bottom line then jumped to $55,719,865 from this year's  figure, an increase of $7,538,868, or 15.65 percent.

At a Jan. 16 budget workshop, the school board placed an emphasis on all-day kindergarten across the board and voted on a figure of $52,315,885, which is $4,134,888, or 8.58 percent, more than this year's budget.

On Wednesday, the Board of Education took $344,080 off that bottom line and  approved the latest working figure of $51,971,805, a number $3,790,808, or 7.87 percent, more than this year's budget.

Here is a summary of those cuts:

• Three elementary school teaching positions with salaries of $53,000 each and benefit values of $16,000 each.

• $20,000 from the prescription drug account.

• $7,300 from a workers' compensation account.

• 26 laptop computers - at $1,170 each - that could have been purchased for staff members for a cut of $30,420.

• 8 smart boards at $3,670 each for a cut of $29,360.

• $20,000 and $30,000, respectively, from summer school accounts for Vernon Center Middle School and Rockville High Schools. The funds were designated for additional offerings.

The next school board budget workshop is scheduled for Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the school administration building.

The board is scheduled to vote on the budget proposal on Feb. 8.

Vernon Resident January 25, 2013 at 04:17 PM
..."26 laptop computers - at $1,170 each - that could have been purchased for staff members for a cut of $30,420."... Seriously? were these macbook pros for high end video production work? How about a call to a local computer retailer? Don't get me wrong, I'm all for technology and support the teachers 100% but the way its worded here it sounds like these are for personal use... If these are for a class room setting to be used as a teaching tool OR to get teachers to use the on line grading tool this is unfortunate as improved technology is needed... At a reasonable price. too bad on the smart boards...
meowkats4 January 25, 2013 at 08:14 PM
Where is Bert?
Chris Dehnel (Editor) January 25, 2013 at 08:22 PM
The laptops were for staff members as part of the classroom technology improvement program as far as I know.
Jay Discount January 25, 2013 at 09:29 PM
The Board of Education must be nuts asking for a 7,87% increase. Most of us have not had an increase in over two years, and if we have the increase has been 1 to 2%. I highly suggest to the Board of Ed to rework their figures so they have the same restrictions as the rest of us. A 0% increase. If I am not mistaken they had a 7% increase last year, when is it going to stop!
Bert January 25, 2013 at 11:32 PM
I'm right here. Wha da ya want?
meowkats4 January 26, 2013 at 02:01 PM
On January 9th Education Budget Proposal Unveiled for Vernon was $51 million.representing an increase of $3,704,046 or 7.69 percent. NOW the Proposal is at $51.9 million or 7.87 percent increase. That is after they took $344,080 off the bottom line or as posted above "THE CUTS". What this new budget is doing is to fool the Tax Payers that they are making cuts, but yet the bottom line proposed NOW is much higher! Come on now if your going to make cuts then make cuts! You can tell us on a list that you took the Tinker-Toys off the budget so the Kindergarten doesn't have anything to play with (that should make the Tax Payers sad), yet the cost of the Tinker-Toys has no affect what so ever on what this Proposal is really covering in expenses or why such a INCREASE! The average Tax Payer is finding it very hard these days to shell out more in Taxes at the town level, state level and federal level. Many are living from pay-check to pay-check.
Bert January 26, 2013 at 02:21 PM
If the article is right, the increase is for all-day kindergarten in all five schools not just the phase-in proposed by the Supt. The taxpayer is finding it hard to shell out more taxes but they are also clammering for better education. Which is it going to be?
meowkats4 January 26, 2013 at 03:46 PM
WE could pay enormous about of Taxes IN Education, it's not going to make the Children SMARTER!!!! They may have beautiful furniture, and wonderful equipment, and all the bells and whistles of a great modeled classroom. Will they be the smartest kids in all of Connecticut? Let's cut this budget way down realistically, keep what is needed to LEARN, not what is a wishlist of items wanted!!! Let's be serious a budget of 7.87 increase is a bit much to swallow in this Economy! Someone some place in this Town has got to have some plan where to cut without hurting the process of learning. I BET there is somethingS in this budget is totally unnecessary and has nothing to benefit the CHILDREN attending in our school system.
Bert January 27, 2013 at 03:52 PM
I bet there is not much in this budget that is "totally unnecessary". Nearly 95% of the budget is fixed costs; salaries, buildings, utilities, etc. that can't really be reduced. You can reduce salaries (which is a big can of worms because of Binding Arbitration laws) but then what is education without teachers? Your thinking is very basic and makes assumptions that you have nothing concrete to base them on. I agree that 7.87 is a lot and should probably be reduced to some degree but Vernon is coming from way far back in the pack and it is going to take some big changes to get off the bottom of the list. I don't know but I doubt this budget contains much in the way of "bells and whistles." I think what you are seeing is beefed up educational items like all-day kindergarten. Money does not make kids "Smarter". They are pretty much born with that or not. But it takes some money to teach them to use what they were born with and expose them to things that they will need in life. In addition to money and maybe even more important, are parents who think that education is super important to their kids lives and let their kids know it. I too would like to see the budget increase lowered but I would also like to see some opinions that have some substance. The BOE is constantly looking for ways to contain spending. Vernon's education status is precarious. Before something is cut, we better make darn sure it's not "necessary" You see where that has gotten us!
Laurie Bajorek January 27, 2013 at 08:38 PM
A significant part of budget increases year after year is healthcare for teachers and staff, nothing anyone has control over, and then resources for the students are cut to make up for it. As Bert said, the original budget proposal only included all day Kindergarten in two elementary schools, not all five as the BOE had asked Dr Conway to submit in the budget, so yes it went up at the next meeting. All day Kindergarten has become the norm all over the country. This town has failed to fund it for the last FIVE years. Also, don't forget that the BOE had an $800,000 surplus two years ago that went back to the Town. Someone in the BOE made a huge mistake with that surplus, but that's a lot of equipment and resources the students went without and that has never been given back. I have been to every BOE budget meeting this month. This budget is not fluff. Maybe the Town should cut their budget. Money is tight for everyone and the entire country is in financial crisis, but this town has been failing my children for years. Will you fund their education? Or should they cost you more when I send them to Magnet School (another significant increase in the budget that the BOE has no control over)? Or should I sell my house and move to a town that does care about their education (I will take the loss on the sale of my house which will only decrease your property value that much more)?

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