Superintendent of Schools Proposes 2.55 Percent Spending Increase

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The superintendent of schools on Monday night proposed a $92 million budget for New Canaan Public Schools next year, a 2.55 percent increase over current spending.

Of the approximately $2.3 million projected spending increase over this fiscal year, more than $1.6 million is due to employee salaries, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Bryan Luizzi told members of the Board of Education during their regular meeting. The budget also anticipates spending less money in areas that include contracted services ($94,554), property services ($440,302), supplies ($58,707) and equipment ($56,016), he said.

The salary figure of $1.6 million represents an increase of about 2.8 percent over current spending, Luizzi said. The increase is driven mainly by contractual increases with unions representing district employees ($1.4 million), as well as “grid progressions” for teachers advancing on the salary schedule ($189,410), he said. The spending plan also anticipates the addition of .7 full-time equivalent or ‘FTE’ in science in world languages ($43,261). 

The anticipated rise in spending on salaries is also offset somewhat by turnover savings of about $150,000, a reduction of three FTEs among teaching assistants and supervisory aides, the elimination (through contract negotiations) of a TEAM coordinator (.2 FTE) and the anticipation that, due to enrollment projections, the elementary schools will see the reduction of one FTE at some point. 

The proposed spending plan “meets the strategic needs of district, enables us to sustain the excellence that we have had through the years and gives us some funding for the strategic priorities that we have,” Luizzi said during the Board of Ed’s regular meeting, held in the Wagner Room at New Canaan High School. 

“It also is responsive to the conversations and what we have heard in the community. We hear and respect the concern that folks have around stresses locally and statewide around taxation and the tax base and the Grand List and revaluation and those other things. So we worked very hard to be as responsive as we could be to all stakeholders in bringing this together.”

Luizzi said during his presentation that the overall 2.55 percent increase is lower than Board of Finance guidance. The Board of Finance this year set guidance to limit the increase in overall spending in New Canaan to $3 million. Luizzi said the finance board’s guidance for the district was set at 2.8 percent, though within that figure the year-over-year change in benefits was higher than guidance (5.85 percent versus 5 percent guidance) and the non-benefits accounts change was lower than BOF guidance (1.9 percent versus 2.38 percent). 

“We did work very hard to bring in the budget at frankly it’s as reasonable as we could, funding our priorities as we have to but really looking at all of the ways we can try to save money, as we always do,” he said.

His proposed budget is the first step for the Board of Ed toward developing its full spending plan for review and final approval (in April) by town funding bodies. The Board of Ed is to vote on Luizzi’s proposed budget at its Jan. 22 meeting. The school operating budget in New Canaan typically accounts for about 60 percent of the town’s spending. Those in attendance at the Board of Ed meeting included First Selectman Kevin Moynihan as well as Town Councilmen Tom Butterworth and Penny Young, 

Luizzi during his presentation reviewed district goals as well as data that spotlights many of the ways NCPS has excelled in both academics and athletics. In presenting the chart below which compares per-pupil spending in New Canaan compared to towns in its District Reference Group, Luizzi said, “I think we do quite a good job managing our spending.”

Net Expenditures Per Pupil

New Canaan$20,162
*Source: New Canaan Public Schools

3 thoughts on “Superintendent of Schools Proposes 2.55 Percent Spending Increase

  1. Easy to cut $2.3 million in their request —
    in fact with all we know it can be $0 increase
    And with 104 outside students( 5 classrooms )
    we can cut expense by another $2.3 million
    Taxes can go down !!!

    • You’re right but…
      I have discussed the issue with BOE members in the past so I’ll tell you their argument. These students aren’t in one classroom and therefor their removal won’t lesson the need for additional teachers. I don’t believe this is a valid argument in that their inclusion does add to the burden on the district as a whole.
      The BOE also believes that allowing children of faculty living outside NC to attend our schools is necessary in attracting and retaining the best teachers. I would argue that the comparably high salaries paid to teachers here (increasing this year AND the following two years) is tbe reason good teachers work here and not elsewhere.
      Increasing our student population by allowing the students of faculty is icing on their cake. It’s an unnecessary burden on tax payers and should be the first thing to be cut. It may not make an obvious cut on the bottom line but it would easily lessen the burden on the district.
      These students must have been part of the equation when the decision was made to spend $20 million to enlarge Saxe. That money could have been used to pay for the unprecedented salary increases that teachers got in their last contract negotiation.

      • Judy — you are 100% right — when the Chair said that
        there was no effect — she was not being truthful
        They have this rule “the rule of 21 if the students go to 21 then they create a new class — so even one new student can cause expenses to go up — here another thing the last time the BOE did a re alignment of the schools by street was back in early 2000 — because of it they moved at least 25 student from one school to another — it time to do it again

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