District 13 Superintendent Susan Viccaro has proposed a $36.23 million budget for the 2012-2013 school year, a 4.15 percent increase over current school spending.
Viccaro presented the proposal Wednesday night to the Board of Education and a crowd of about 40 residents and administrators at Strong School.
"I have to put forth a budget that I think is responsible and there are definitely some areas to look at where we can find some room," said Viccaro. The proposal increases overall spending by $1.44 million over this year's $34.78 million budget.
Most of the increases, Viccaro said, were the result of non-discretionary costs going up, including salaries and benefits. Salaries alone make up 57-percent of the budget total and will increase by $555,185 next year under the proposal.
Benefit costs will increase by $530,435 next year, Viccaro said, and while capitol improvement funding was cut in last year's budget, $206,205 is included in next year's budget.
"Our buildings are a source of pride to me and I hope to the community," Viccaro said. "An investment in this area supports the schools, both communities and promotes healthy, positive activities in a safe, clean environment for all of our citizens."
One piece of the budget puzzle that remains uncertain is whether or not the district will add full-day kindergarten this fall. Doing so could be achieved by shifting three teaching positions — a move that would add "no new dollars" to the budget, according to Viccaro. By eliminating the positons and keeping half-day kindergarten the district would save about $150,000.
The board will meet each Wednesday in March to review the budget, leading to a public hearing on April 11. The board is scheduled to present its final budget on May 7 before sending it to referendum.
"It's important for us that [the public] has adequate opportunity to be able to express your opinions on this. I urge you to attend," board member Robert Fulton told the crowd.
Check back with Patch Friday for the latest on the proposal to offer full-day kindergarten in District 13.