2019-2020 Board of Education Budget Quick Notes
April 4, 2019
Town Council / Town Hall
2019-2020 Budget approved by Town Council
The Town Council approved the 2019-2020 Board of Education's operating budget of $91,434,688. The number reflects a 1.86% increase and consists of an Operating Expense budget of $79,145,162; and Health Insurance budget of $12,289,526.
April 2, 2019
Town Council Public Meeting / Town Hall
At tonight’s Public Hearing, the vast majority of the nearly 30 speakers provided heartfelt support for the BOE, its schools, teachers, and administrators, and the quality education it provides. They strongly urged the TC not to cut the current budget proposal, arguing that any cut would have a significant negative impact. Parents and PTC members, BOE members, and even an elementary school student spoke to that effect. That 3rd grader commented that his teachers “make learning fun,” adding “New Canaan is doing something correct. Why would anyone want to mess with that.”
It was a sentiment repeated often throughout the night. Some other highlighted comments included:
- Schools are at heart of the community and a key attraction for the town.
- Chipping away at the budget is not good. Staff and programs are what makes it special.
- School experiences impact the broader community.
- Cuts will have marginal impact on the overall budget but a major impact on the BOE.
- Our kids are thriving, and we are happy to invest in quality education. It’s the most important investment.
- The education provided to our children is the fabric of growth of New Canaan and has been for decades.
- Our schools produce self-confident, engaged students with a life-long zest for life.
- Why would we cut the thing that makes us so valuable? It’s our trophy. We can’t mess with it.
- Once you cut into muscle, it hurts what you do.
- Any cuts will have ripple effect beyond a linear one.
Upcoming Meeting Schedule:
Upcoming Town Council meetings: 4/4/19, Vote on Budget, Town Hall, Meeting Room.
March 27, 2019
Town Council / Town Hall
The BOE took part in a Budget Follow-up and Review tonight with the Town Council. The BOE received a list of 58 questions from the Town Council regarding the 2019-2020 Budget Proposal. Some of the topics discussed at the meeting included:
- Dr. Luizzi discussed the process of projecting Kindergarten enrollment numbers each year and explained why it is so difficult arriving at an accurate number.
- Our demographer, the New England School Development Council (NESDEC) works with the CT Department of Health to establish a Birth-to-Kindergarten relationship.
- It determines the ratio between the number of births during a given year compared to the number of K enrollments five years prior to that date
- Another factor affecting the equation is the number of in-migration students, those K-aged students who moved into town prior to enrolling.
- Fewer enrollments compared to births equal a less-than-1 ratio in this equation, and vice-versa.
- This school year, we compiled a 1.6 ratio; there were 145 births five years ago; our K enrollment this year was 233.
- Next year, our initial projection from births was for 143 in kindergarten, however our current number is 280, a 1.96 ratio, which is the second highest in the past decade. Plus, an additional 30-40 students may be expected to enroll in K before the start of the school year.
- In terms of budgeting, it is important to note that this number of students reflects a 13-year-commitment and is not something that will normalize the next budget cycle.
SPED vehicle purchase
- The district is requesting 3 SPED vehicles. It plans to repurpose one of the SUVs to replace a maintenance vehicle that is in extreme disrepair.
- The trade-in range for the SUVs has been $1,500 - $4,500.
- The town retains the delta between the budget and actual net cost of the vehicles.
Students with Parent Teachers in District
- Providing free tuition to students with parents who are teachers is a powerful recruiting tool
- Cost are relatively low on a marginal basis
- Approximately 40-52 students with parent teachers attend NCPS
The TC’s suggested 1.5% annual growth rate cap on the BOE budget over the next three years will be significantly below the rate of inflation and below NCPS cost values.
Upcoming Meeting Schedule:
Upcoming Town Council meetings: 4/02/18 - 7 p.m., Public Hearing and Overall Review, Town Hall, Meeting Room; 4/4/19, Vote on Budget, Town Hall, Meeting Room.
March 20, 2019
Town Council / Town Hall
The BOE received a list of 58 questions from the Town Council regarding the 2019-2020 Budget Proposal. In response, the BOE provided the TC with a comprehensive 23-page written report. Several of the questions were addressed and discussed in tonight’s nearly three-hour session.
Discussion topics included:
- Alternative High School Program
- Measures used to determine outcomes
- Stewardship of all district resources - with cost-savings results
- Cost-per-student comparisons within the DRG
- Staff Utilization and Enrollment Report
- Teacher Evaluation and Professional Learning Plan (TEPL)
- Teachers’ tenure eligibility process
BOE Chair Brendan Hayes addressed the Town Council at the start of the discussion, stating: “Our budget maintains the excellence of our schools. It identifies low-cost, high-leverage areas for continuous improvement and meets the constraints that are placed on us to operate fiscally conservatively. I ask that you approve our budget unmodified, and that you agree that our schools are an investment in our students, our community and our future as a town.”
In responding to a Town Council’s suggestion that the BOE plan its budget, not just annually, but five years ahead, Dr. Luizzi said he didn’t see budgeting to a number in advance as the best practice. “We make the best prediction and projection of our budget that we can based on our needs and what we have in hand. We will continue to be as careful with every dollar that’s in this budget as we’ve always been.”
Dr. Luizzi added: “We see schools as talent development centers. We want to give kids the opportunity to explore, do things, learn things, plug into things they’re interested in so they can develop those talents while they’re here. We want them to try things and fall in love with learning in different ways and to develop those talents. Reducing the budget is reducing these opportunities and experiences.”
Upcoming Town Council meetings include: 3/27/19 - 7 p.m., Budget Follow-up and Review, Town Hall, Meeting Room; 4/02/18 - 7 p.m., Public Hearing and Overall Review, Town Hall, Meeting Room; 4/4/19, Vote on Budget, Town Hall, Meeting Room.
March 7, 2019
Board of Finance / Vote on Budget / Town Hall
- The BOF voted on and approved a $150,000 reduction in the BOE’s 2019-2020 Operating Budget. The amount, acknowledged by the BOE, was taken from turnover savings.
- The BOF voted on and approved the BOE Operating Budget for 2019-2020 for $91,434,688, which reflect a 1.86% increase.
- The budget will now be reviewed by the Town Council, with the next budget meeting taking place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, at the Town Hall.
March 5, 2019
Board of Finance / Public Hearing / Town Hall
At its Budget Public Hearing, the Board of Finance heard statements from the public regarding the BOE’s 2019-2020 proposed budget. Those who spoke in strong support of the BOE and its budget included BOE Chair Brendan Hayes, Vice-Chair Dionna Carlson, BOE member Penny Rashin, and PTC board members.
“We have been partnering with you as the board of finance and delivering a budget that we think you can support, and you can move forward,” said Mr. Hayes, “and, we are doing it for everyone in the town, for every tax payer here, in a way that it absolutely prudent.”
The BOF will vote on the budget at its next scheduled meeting on Thursday, March 7, after which it will be reviewed by the Town Council.
February 26, 2019
Board of Finance / Budget Meeting / Town Hall
At tonight’s Board of Finance meeting, Superintendent Bryan Luizzi addressed a list of follow-up questions presented to the BOE by the BOF following the Feb. 5 budget meeting. He was joined by NCPS cabinet members Jo-Ann Keating, Director of Finance and Operations, and Darlene Pianka, Assistant Superintendent of Pupil and Family Services, for some of the responses. The list of 62 questions and the BOE written responses has been posted on the NCPS website and is available online by clicking here.
Discussion topics at the meeting included:
- Budget figures from 2010 to the present, which compared inflation percentages and total Town Budget percentages, showed that on-average, the district budget has increased 2.86% annually, and the Town’s has increased 3.11%, while inflation increased 1.77%. Overall, the BOE’s total percentage of the Town’s budget has remained relatively consistent at 69%. In the past four years, the BOE budget’s average has been 2.65%, and this year the Board of Education’s budget is requesting 2.03% year over year.
- Several program needs have increased the BOE budget. These include Foreign Language in the Elementary Schools (FLES), the expanding needs in our English Language Learners (ELL) program, the district-wide Campus Monitor program, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) leadership and programming, the Music Technology program at NCHS and Saxe, the increasing Special Education staffing needs, and the Senior Internship Program (SIP) at NCHS.
- SPED Utilization and costs are closely monitored. Although total tuition numbers have increased over the past five years, costs can be attributed to factors which are unpredictable, such as prevalence rates and the number of move-ins and move-out in the district.
- Building utilization totals show that the district currently has no classroom space that is being under-used or sitting empty. All rooms are being utilized to enhance student learning opportunities. It is always helpful to have flexible space in the schools, and a few rooms, particularly at the elementary level, can be used for classrooms in the event of an unexpected uptick in enrollment.
- Enrollment projections cannot be based on new housing projects coming to the area.
- The School Lunch Fund is currently holding the $500K awarded by the insurance company based on the claim filed by the district last year. Once the criminal proceedings are concluded, the Board will look to use the funds to invest in the food services operation on behalf of the students. Some possible investments include hooking up natural gas to the kitchens, purchasing new equipment in the kitchens and serveries, new cafeteria tables, and possibly expanding the menu.
- South School’s new roof original cost estimate of $2,183,500 has been revised, based on the lowest qualified bid of $2,046,400. Therefore, the requested budget can be decreased by $137,100.
- The trade-in range for the 3 SPED vehicles being replaced has been $1,500 - $4,500. The district plans to repurpose one of the SUVs to replace a maintenance vehicle that is in extreme disrepair. Furthermore, the town retains the delta between the budget and actual net cost of the vehicles.
The next Board of Finance meeting is a Budget Public Hearing and Review and takes place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 5, at the Town Hall meeting room. The Board of Finance votes on the 2019-2020 budget on March 7, after which it will proceed to the Town Council for review and final passage.
February 6, 2019
Board of Finance / Budget Meeting / Town Hall
The Board of Education’s 2018-2019 proposed operating and capital budget was presented before the Board of Finance at the Town Hall.
Before an audience that included the BOE chair and other BOE members, NCPS Cabinet, all five school principals, many school administrators, and several members of the Town Council, Superintendent Dr. Bryan Luizzi delivered a comprehensive explanation of the BOE's proposed operating budget in an over-two-hour presentation. He was joined by Director of Finance and Operations, Dr. Jo-Ann Keating, in an explanation of the BOE's capital budget.
After going through an extensive list of district successes that included impressive accomplishments in athletics, the arts, and, in particular, academics which placed New Canaan in the top if its reference group in a majority of the categories, Dr. Luizzi detailed spending and economic comparisons that also placed NCPS as one of the most prudent and practical as well.
Some discussion items included special education costs, kindergarten enrollment, and ten-year budget trends and totals.
The BOF was asked to submit any further questions to the BOE for review prior to the next budget discussion with the BOE, which takes place at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 26, at Town Hall.
January 22, 2019
BOE Meeting, NCHS
- The Board of Education unanimously approved the Superintendent's Proposed 2019-2020 Budget.
- The BOE’s Proposed 2019-2020 of $91,584,688 represents a 2.03% increase.
- The BOE’s 2019-2020 Non-Benefits Accounts Budget represents a 1.9% increase to the 2019 projected Budget.
- The BOE’s 2019-2020 Benefits Accounts Budget increases by 2.68%.
- The budget will now proceed to the town funding bodies for review/approval.