NORTH STONINGTON – A reduction in salary and benefits will help offset rising costs related to special education in the Board of Education’s proposed budget for 2022-23.
The North Stonington Board of Education is seeking approval of an operating budget of $14.63 million for fiscal year 2022-23. The proposal, which was presented to the Finance Board on Wednesday night, represents an increase of 2.48% on current spending.
However, the district continues to struggle to meet a growing list of special education needs exposed during the pandemic, and related program costs have exceeded all other additional expenses in the combined budget.
School board president Christine Wagner told town finance board members at the meeting that the primary driver of the district’s increase was a $186,000 increase in anticipated spending over the current year’s budget for special education. . All other operating expenses, which include the need for instructional materials made necessary by last year’s zero raise, combine for just over $168,000 in additional expenses, she said.
“Without that $186,000 increase in special education costs, we would be seeing an increase in spending of only 1.18%,” he said. “If we take into account the tuition that we are contributing, and I know we can’t use it, we would only be looking at a 0.377% increase in this year’s budget.”