In his budget address, Drew said he was flat-funding the schools, but pointed to money that he hoped the State would provide:
This proposed budget funds education consistent with the 2011-12 fiscal year with the understanding that the State of Connecticut will provide an additional $872,000 directly to the school system. Additionally, the City will provide after school grants funding in the amount of $55,000 that will aid the schools in providing programming for students.
The (departed) Superintendent Recommended, and the Board of Education approved, a 2012-2013 Budget (dated 12/20/11) of $74,161,155, or a 4.82% increase over the 2011-2012 funded budget of $70,750,000. The Mayor's budget does not provide any of this increase, effectively forcing the schools to take a nearly 5% cut in funding.
A breakdown of where the 4.82% increases would go is summarized here. Due to contractual increases in salaries and other services, the BOE budget does not remain constant from year to year. For example, the cost of Classified Salaries contains a 2.75% step increase for FY 2012-2013, as does the Paraprofessionals contract. The Health Insurance increase for Certified and Paraprofessional Staff is 18% (or roughly $1,058,000). Copying cost have gone up by almost $20,000, Pupil Transportation costs have increased by $285, 786, and another $143,673 is targeted for Instructional Supplies. Purchased services, including a $82,049 1st annual payment for PowerSchool (a student information and assessment system), have also increased by almost $106,000. The Middletown Federation of Teachers (MFT) and BOE contract contains a step increase only for teachers with 9 yrs. or less experience, and a one-time longevity increase of $1000 for teachers with 10 or more years of experience.
For the BOE Budget to have no increase in a year means that in order to cover the costs that go up according to employee contracts (raises, increased prices in services, etc.) other cuts will have to be made. Cuts of this magnitude can only come from a reduction in teachers or staff.
Interestingly, the 2011-2012 Approved Budget was $70,750,000, but only $67,174,287 was actually expended according to the Summary of Accounts by Object Categories given to the BOE on Tuesday, January 10, 2012.
EYE Reporter Stephen Devoto (fishmuscle) contributed to this article.