August 11, 2020

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Hold District Budget Hearing This Evening as Virtual Meeting, Public Must Register in Advance to Participate

Lyme-Old Lyme High School. (File photo.)

LYME/OLD LYME — UPDATED 12pm, 1pm & 2pm (updates in red): Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools will hold their District Budget Hearing this evening as a virtual meeting starting at 6:30 p.m.

Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser noted that the proposed budget has been reduced by a further $156,410 over the figure of $35,066,107 quoted in the recently published Focus on Education since, “We were able to reduce it [the total budget request] further due to a reduction in healthcare costs for next year. “

The revised 2020-21 proposed budget of $34,909,697 now reflects a 0.5 percent decrease over the 2019-20 budget of $35,084,758 in contrast to the 0.05 percent decrease quoted in Focus on Education.

Neviaser said, “We are very pleased to be able to deliver the lowest budget on record for the Lyme-Old Lyme Schools.” 

Members of the public can participate in tonight’s meeting live by registering at the link below. 

Register in advance for this meeting: https://us04web.zoom.us/meeting/register/v50qdO-hqTMuenqqS1nGDs4x4hg4-ZTE5Q 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. 

Neviaser explained to us this morning that pre-registration is being required is, “To avoid Zoom Bombers and to follow our normal protocol where we ask for the public to state their name and town of residence prior to speaking.”

The Lyme-Old Lyme Board of Education has approved the proposed 2020-21 budget, which is $175,061 less than the current (2019-20) budget, but cuts neither programming nor staff in the district.

The respective numbers used for students and staff in the 2019-20 budget (which were projected fall 2018) were 1,214 students, 150 certified staff and 133.13 non-certified staff while those used for the 2020-21 budget (which were projected in October 2019) were 1,241 students, 150.7 certified staff and 135.06 non-certified staff. Neviaser noted that the projected numbers for the 2020-21 budget are “already way too low.”

The decrease is due primarily to refinancing the remaining bonds being used to paying for school renovation projects and thus achieving a significant drop in debt service.

According to the recent edition of the LOL Schools publication Focus in Education, “In addition, … health insurance rates continue to grow at a pace that is far lower than the state average.”

Focus on Education also notes that, “two major capital projects; the renovation of the Lyme School gymnasium [$435,000] and the completion of the high school tennis court replacement [$225,000],” are included in the proposed budget. The latter project is scheduled to begin in June.

Other enhancements mentioned in Focus on Education that are included in the budget are to replace SmartBoards with digital display boards and purchase new musical instruments to replace some older pieces. Also included are costs associated with continuing to grow the curriculum around the Next Generation Science Standards and adding to the District’s existing social/emotional learning programs.

There will not be a district-wide referendum on the budget this year as a result of the Governor’s Executive Order permitting town and school district budgets to be passed by a majority vote of the appropriate town finance or school board. This change has been implemented for this year only due to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

The LOL Schools Board of Education will vote on the proposed 2020-21 budget at their Wednesday, May 6 meeting.

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