By unanimous vote on Tuesday evening, the Board of Education finalized a proposed operating budget for next fiscal year. The proposal brings the initial 3.39 percent increase down to 2.94 percent.
As revised, the budget totals $58,047,590 for operations. Separately, capital items come in at $856,590, but the cost of one is to be determined. Eventually, capital projects for the school district and the Town merge into one proposal for voters to decide.
The 2.94 percent operating increase translates to a bump of roughly $1.6 million. Almost all of the growth is driven by two factors: personnel costs and energy prices.
At a January 23 budget workshop, Board chair Steve Ezzes said those same factors drive increases everywhere, but 2.94 percent is almost the lowest in the region.
This year, Board sessions reserved for receiving public comment were quiet. The administration’s initial proposal was examined in two workshops and emerged unchanged, except for a draw that brought the increase down.
In the current fiscal year, the school district is projected to have a surplus of just over $700,000. Nothing guarantees that amount will hold, especially if unforeseen special education costs arise, which happens.
Still, the Board decided to use some of the surplus to pay in advance for a new K–2 reading program that will be introduced next school year, drawing nearly $300,000 from the surplus but reducing next year’s budget by the same amount.
Funds still surplus at the end of the fiscal year are returned to the Town’s general reserves.
Insight from the superintendent
As the budget process continues over the next several weeks, Superintendent Lisa Barbiero encourages the community to review the comprehensive set of documents that are posted on the district’s website.
In February, Ms. Barbiero will discuss the budget at sessions held by the various PTOs:
The superintendent will also be at Speak Up on Saturday, February 4 at 10:30 am. Speak Up is being held in person at the Library Community Room and also on Zoom. See The Calendar for the link to register for the Zoom session.
Recently, Ms. Barbiero shared a document with district families: “How Does the 2024 Budget Support My Child?” Those without children in Weston public schools may also find it interesting.
The document can be viewed and downloaded here.