By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News
NAUGATUCK — The Board of Education has approved a $64.5 million budget proposal for the 2022-23 fiscal year.
The spending plan increases the borough’s allocation for schools by $743,433, or 1.1%, over this fiscal year.
Board member Aaron McCool voted against the proposal in the school board’s meeting Thursday. He said he didn’t agree with some of the expenditures and believed the funds should be spent elsewhere.
The $64.5 million would be what the borough dedicates for schools. The overall proposed school operating budget, which includes additional grant and supplemental revenue, is $75.8 million, an increase of a little more than $1.8 million, or about 2.5%.
The cost of salaries, which make up 60% of the budget, is driving much of the increase. Salaries are expected to jump $957,658, or 2.5%, to $38.5 million.
Purchased services, supplies and utilities comprise a combined 17% of the budget. Overall purchased services are expected to increase $337,859, or 3.9%, to $8.8 million. The cost of supplies and utilities is expected to rise $96,501, or 4.9%, to $2 million.
The benefits portion of the budget is estimated to decrease $640,585, or 4.2%, to $14,345,859. This is due to a decrease in pension of about $1 million, or 7%, and an increase in health benefits of about $409,983, or 2.7%.
The budget assumes the borough will continue to pay $1.8 million of the school board’s insurance costs in the municipal budget. If not, the school board would have to take on the cost again, which officials said would increase the budget.
Borough officials moved $1.8 million of insurance costs from the school budget to the municipal budget for this fiscal year. The move freed up money for other items in the school budget, while allowing borough officials to limit the increase in school spending to avoid setting a higher minimum school spending requirement. The borough can’t decrease school spending because Naugatuck is an underperforming Alliance District, so any increase sets a new bar.
After the approval vote, Board of Education Chairman Jeffrey Litke thanked board members and the school administration for their work on the budget.
“I just want to take a second to thank everyone that’s involved in the budget process,” he said. “It’s not an easy process. It’s still not over yet.”
School officials are scheduled to present their budget proposal to the Board of Finance on March 28.