At a Public Forum held Wednesday evening, Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser presented a budget for the 2017-18 school year of $33,634, 371 reflecting a 0.49 percent increase over the current year. The Region #18 Board of Education subsequently approved the budget unanimously at their regular meeting, which followed immediately after the forum.
Asked via e-mail Thursday morning for his thoughts on the budget, Neviaser told LymeLine.com, “We are proud to present the lowest budget increase on record for Region #18. While the increase is exceptionally low, this has been achieved through savings that do not impact any of our existing programs or services. ”
He added, “Detailed information will be available in the upcoming budget edition of the Focus on Education newsletter, which will be delivered to homes as an insert in The Lyme Times in early March.”
At Wednesday’s forum, Neviaser explained the budget was set to support the objectives outlined in the Strategic Plan by:
- Preserving and building upon the high standards of education in Lyme-Old Lyme while remaining fiscally responsible to our communities
- Supporting the ongoing renewal of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and staff development activities in response to the expectations of state and national standards.
- Continuing to plan and provide technology infrastructure and applications that are consistent with highly effective and efficient programming and operational standards.
- Maintaining high facility standards for all district buildings and grounds.
- Maintaining a dynamic and responsive approach to programming needs and mandates in special education.
- Maintaining both compliance and reasonableness in response to state and federal mandates.
He noted that budget increases include certified and non-certified salaries, instructional programming, and administrative services while decreases include costs for benefits, special education and debt service.
Neviaser stressed that while showing only a minimal increase, the operations/program budget still reflects:
- Continued adherence to class size guidelines
- Reduction of staff to account for enrollment decline
- Continuance of existing academic and extracurricular activities
- Adjustments for anticipated changes in the special education population
- Adequate funding for maintenance and repair of buildings and grounds
- Scheduled replacement of technology and equipment
- Program improvements that are consistent with high academic and operational standards
He also highlighted that, again despite only a marginal increase in the overall budget, several new programs were being implemented and a selection of facilities being upgraded. Program improvements include a new/updated elementary math program, technology infrastructure advancements and replacement of staff computers.
Facility upgrades include installation of window AC units at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School and Lyme School; addition of main campus pathway lighting; increasing the number of security cameras; installation of a concrete lacrosse practice wall and replacement of the fuel oil tank at Lyme School.
Further presentations of the budget will be held in the upcoming months, during which time the public can submit comments on the budget to the superintendent. A district budget hearing and referendum are tentatively set respectively for Monday, May 1, and Tuesday, May 2.