At a special meeting on Jan. 9, the Wilton Board of Education reviewed school Superintendent Gary Richards’ recommended 2013-14 operating budget, which is $77,300,422, a 4.39% increase over the current year.
The new proposal is composed of 59.2% in salaries, 19.7% in employee benefits, and 12.3% in various supplies and equipment; the rest of the funding would accommodate substitute teachers, transportation, and miscellaneous building maintenance and operations.
Salaries, which make up the bulk of the budget proposal, are set to rise 3.2% on the year, totaling $45,776,047 if approved.
The incomes of classroom teachers entail just over half of this figure, and the rest covers the miscellaneous incomes of paraprofessionals and instructional support workers (about 9% of the proposed salary budget), administrators (7%), and mainenance/custodial workers (5%).
Roughly a fifth of the prospective budget is set to cover an assortment of health benefits, retirement plans, workers’ compensation, and other employee benefits.
Health benefits, by far the largest share of employee benefits (70%), have been set as a 9.4% increase on the current year, accounting for a total of $11,464,059, according to the proposal.
The entire “employee benefits” subset of the entire budget amounts to just over $15 million.
Buildings and operations
Construction, repairs and maintenance are expected to come at less expense to the Wilton taxpayer in the coming year. The new proposal estimates such costs to be 1.5% less than in the current budget.
Major remodeling and repair projects in the coming year, which account for about $450,000 in the proposal, would include about $120,000 for renovations at Middlebrook School, $70,000 for field house refurbishment at Wilton High School, and $90,000 in various security enhancement spending at Cider Mill School, according to the proposal.
Supplies and services
The cost of supplies, equipment and contracted services is expected to grow by 14.6% from the current year to a total of $9,522,273, an estimated increase of $1,209,677.
The majority of these costs come as contracted services, especially for special education students and outplacement services.
Transportation for athletic programs is also expected to rise by about 3.4% to an expected $150,000, according to the proposal.
Class size projections
The number of students per class is expected to mostly fall within the school board’s desired range, which is 18 to 20 for kindergarten to first grade classes and 20 to 22 for second grade to high school levels.
Social studies classes at the middle school and high school levels might be slightly larger than the school board’s ideal range, as might some middle school sciences classes, according to the proposal.
The recommended budget proposal will move forward to a public hearing on Thursday, Jan. 24, at the Middlebrook School auditorium. For more information, visit wilton.k12.ct.us..