Paddyfote proposes 1.9 percent budget increase
Keeping class sizes reasonable and eliminating pay-to-play sports are key considerations for Superintendent of Schools JeanAnn Paddyfote in her New Milford schools budget proposal for 2015-16.
A major factor, too, will be funding for the closing of Pettibone School and its resultant impact on other schools.
Paddyfote presented a $62.14 million budget proposal to the Board of Education on Jan. 20.
Her budget would represent an increase of 1.94 percent, or $1.18 million over the 2014-15 fiscal year.
Fifty percent of the budget increase would be capital expenditures of $591,535 attributed to closing Pettibone School.
Closing Pettibone includes moving expenses and contractual obligations, as well as costs associated with necessary programs.
"This budget provides for a smooth transition to five schools and demonstrates smart financial planning," Paddyfote said. "It eliminates the revenue that has been collected through pay-to-participate sports at the high school ($78,000), provides three additional school buses and maintains reasonable class sizes in order to ensure individual instructional needs of students."
Funding for the closing of Pettibone School would include sessions during the summer when parents and students could visit the students' new schools.
Also included would be the hiring of a part-time administrator to facilitate students' and staff's integration to Schaghticoke Middle School, and the hiring of a company specializing in transferring library materials, among other tasks.
Paddyfote also considered a cut of three staff positions and an enrollment decrease of 97 students across the district from the present year.
Student population in 2015-16 is projected at 4,238 -- with Hill and Plain School down to 430 students, Northville School remaining at 412 students, Sarah Noble Intermediate School down to 966 students and Schaghticoke Middle School at 1,061, an increase of 379 students with the addition of the sixth-graders.
Staff increases would include five teachers: one for a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math program for seventh and eighth grades, one for seventh- and eighth-grade computer education and three to increase elective options for grades nine through 12.
A social worker for elementary students would be hired to identify and meet emotional concerns interfering with learning, and a part-time substance abuse counselor would be contracted for the high school.
Capital investments of $543,850 are planned for the district's five schools, including playground equipment replacement, security enhancements, building improvements and replacement of 400 computers purchased in 2007 or before.
Budget deliberations by the Board of Education are set to continue Jan. 29 and Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. at Sarah Noble Intermediate School.
The board expects to adopt its budget Friday, Jan. 30.