Cuts to school security considered by Board of Education

In response to the Board of Finance’s request to cut its $79,151,125 budget by $750,000, the Board of Education is considering eliminating a number of security recommendations, among other cuts. One of these is the threat assessment coordinator position.

“This cut would provide $85,000 in savings and $19,921 in health benefit costs,” Assistant Superintendent Charles Smith told the board.

Dr. Smith said consensus among the leadership team is that one additional student resource officer would meet the district’s security needs, and proposed providing training and support to existing mental health professionals instead.

Ken Post, director of financial planning and operations, also recommended cutting $130,000 in the operating budget for security projects.

Dr. Smith and Mr. Post provided numerous recommendations at the board’s April 10 meeting that would reduce the total budget down to $78,401,125.

They recommended that cuts be made in the following areas:

• Staffing and benefits.

• Instructional program support.

• Athletics.

• Buildings and grounds projects.

• Operations.

Staffing and benefits

Dr. Smith recommended a $276,450 reduction in salaries and benefits, which would include the elimination of the threat assessment coordinator position.

In staffing and benefits, Dr. Smith recommended reducing one Wilton High School classroom teacher by 0.4 full-time equivalent (FTE). This, he said, would save $24,142.

Dr. Smith also recommended making cuts in the staffing and benefits section of $147,387.

Program support

Reducing textbooks by $17,500 and supplies by $45,869 would provide a total of $63,369 in instructional program support savings.

Athletics

Dr. Smith proposed reducing the athletics budget by $35,101, with $28,491 being cut from athletic supplies and equipment.

He also recommended eliminating two coaching positions, which would save $6,610.

Operations

In the education operating budget, Dr. Smith said, “We’re also recommending eliminating the $15,080 in buses for high school testing.”

Buildings and grounds

In the area of buildings and grounds, Mr. Post recommended a total reduction of $360,000.

“We are recommending that we recognize savings in natural gas at the high school,” Mr. Post said.

Mr. Post recommended reducing Wilton High School’s natural gas conversion by $168,000.

“We are recommending a $62,000 cut out of facilities site work projects,” Mr. Post told the education board.

After Dr. Smith and Mr. Post presented their recommendations, Board of Education Chairman Bruce Likly told his fellow board members, “We have some work to do to figure out what to do.”

“We can make it work,” said Dr. Smith. “We always have and always will.”

The education board decided to hold off on making a decision until its next meeting, on Thursday, April 24.