The Board of Education has approved a $28 million budget for fiscal 2013-2014, a 5 percent, or $1.4 million increase over this year’s budget.
This year's proposed budget increase is higher than what the board sought last year, but the overall spending plan “represents an efficient use of community resources while preserving and enhancing our ability to provide a quality educational experience to each of our students,” said in a recent budget address to Matthew Walton, chairman of the Board of Finance.
Let Patch save you time. Get stories like this delivered right to your inbox or smartphone every day with our free newsletter. Simple, fast sign-up here.
Laraia said the budget request also supports the school board’s goals and objectives for the coming year, including goals for curriculum, accountability and facilities.
“The Board has done what it can to realize efficiencies and reduce spending while preserving educational services,” Laraia wrote.
The finance board must now review and act on the budget.
Some of the major initiatives in the budget include $125,628 to upgrade the school district’s computer and technology equipment.
About 3.5 percent of the budget increase is attributed to staff salaries. The board wants to hire staff to fill five certified positions next year, including ones in special education, kindergarten and high school English.
The board has also earmarked $7,000 in next year’s spending plan to help pay 50 percent of the costs of students’ participation in the district’s football program. Currently, the program operates on a pay-to-play basis, said Interim Superintendent Mark Winzler.
One costly issue that has arisen this year is the growth in the number of students who are opting to attend magnet schools, Winzler said. There were 76 East Hampton students who attended magnet schools in 2012-2013. That number has risen dramatically over the past several years. In 2007 there were just seven East Hampton students enrolled in magnet schools.
The district has to pay the tuition for those outplacements, which is estimated to cost the district $140,000 this year. But more importantly, Laraia said, the increase in magnet school students indicates that parents and students are looking elsewhere for educational opportunities.
“Clearly, we need to become more competitive in all that we offer students so that parents will not look beyond East Hampton to educate their children,” Laraia said in his letter to the Walton.