Calling it the most difficult school budget she's worked on in nine years as superintendent, District 13 Superintendent Susan Viccaro on Wednesday night announced a proposal to increase school spending by 3.27 percent next year.
The proposed 2013-2014 school budget's net increase is slightly higher — 4.39 percent — due to the fact that anticipated state revenues are down significantly.
"This budget is going to be a budget of making choices," Viccaro told members of the Board of Education.
While nearly 75 percent of the proposed $35,586,459 budget would be spent on salaries and benefits, the district is faced with a $320,677 loss in revenue, or 16 percent decline. Most of the money has been cut from transportation reimbursements from the state, Viccaro said.
Significant increases, or "budget drivers," include improvement in technology, supplies and support for the implementation of the Common Core state standards and a building utilization study that will cost the district $75,000.
Under Viccaro's proposal the district would hire six part-time tutors at the high school and middle school level but eliminate a kindergarten teaching position at John Lyman Elementary School due to declining enrollment.
The overall net budget increase is $1,496,529.
The Board of Education will hold weekly budget meetings starting Wednesday, March 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Strong School. Residents of both towns are encouraged to attend the meetings.
The budget will be presented to voters at a public hearing on April 10.
The proposed 2013-2014 budget will be available on the district's website on Thursday.