Landon unveils school spending proposal with 3.75% hike
He said the proposed budget is 3.75 percent higher than the current $109.2 million spending package.
While Landon said the school board will review his spending proposal, line by line, during a budget workshop Wednesday, he explained the budget includes a number of "drivers and assumptions."
These, Landon added, include instructional programs, state mandates, enrollments, health and medical insurance, and contractual increases, current and future.
As for energy costs, Landon said, most people have experienced "huge, personal increases" in their electric bills, and the school district has to deal with the same hikes.
The budget plan, he said, also addresses capital improvements.
An important component in the budget, Landon said, is "to expand security needs" in the schools, in particular to have "a full-time, trained security person in each of our schools."
Enrichment programs are also included in the budget, as well as the expansion of the kindergarten music program.
Also taken into account in preparing the budget was "how to expand the footprint" at Staples High School, Landon added.
Another aspect addressed were issues of "productivity and efficiency."
"This is an excellent first step in the budget process," said board Chairman Michael Gordon. "It's academically forward-looking and fiscally responsible."
Last year, Landon entered the budget-approval process facing an anticipated deficit of nearly $2 million in the school system's health insurance fund account. That projected shortfall, however, was resolved over the course of the fiscal year and the account ended the year with a surplus.
A Health Insurance Fund Review Committee was established to look into that issue and adopted several recommendations, including checks and balances, designed to help prevent recurrences.
The school board's meeting for its annual detailed review of the proposed budget take place Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the Westport Library's McManus Room.