September 25, 2020

Lyme-Old Lyme BOE to Vote on $34.7 Million 2020-21 School Budget This Evening, Public Can Attend Meeting Virtually

LYME/OLD LYME — The Lyme-Old Lyme (LOL) Schools Board of Education (BOE) meets this evening at 6:30 p.m. for a regular board meeting.  The agenda includes “Approval of the 2020-2021 School Budget” under New Business.

This year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont in Executive Order 7I waived the requirement for towns and school districts to vote on budgets by “any in-person budget adoption requirements,” including town meetings or referenda.

The board of education can therefore vote on — and potentially pass — the proposed 2020-21 District budget at tonight’s meeting, which will be held virtually. Access information for the meeting can be found on the agenda.

The previously planned May 5 referendum on the proposed school budget was cancelled.

The budget on which the LOL Board of Education will vote this evening totals $$34,711,631, which now represents a 1.06 percent reduction over the 2019-20 budget. The budget number presented at the April 6 District Hearing was $34,909,697.

Asked this morning why the final number now showed a $198,066 reduction over the number presented at the District Hearing, Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Superintendent Ian Neviaser responded, “We used some of our surplus from this year to move a majority of the tennis court project into this year’s budget.  We have a large surplus this year due to savings incurred throughout the year mainly in special education costs.”

At the District Hearing, Neviaser stated the goals of the budget were to support the objectives outlined in the Strategic Plan by:

    • Preserving and building upon the high standards of education in LOL 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 reasonability in response to state and federal mandates.

At that meeting, he ran through an Overall Budget Summary noting that the major significant decrease was in debt service, which is down 18.57 percent, while other decreases were present in employee benefits (5.36 percent), special education (5.5 percent) and administrative services (6.36 percent.) He said, “the budget pie looks like that of previous years,” with 40.8 percent of the budget allocated to Certified Staff, adding, “the breakdown has not changed drastically.”

Commenting, “We’ve been back to 1998,” Neviaser then stated, “This is the lowest budget increase on record.”

 

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