DARIEN, Conn. -- The Darien school budget is expected to increase $3.255 million next year. The proposed budget for the 2013-14 school year is $83,293,646, an increase of 4.07 percent.
The driving forces behind the increase are fixed costs, decreasing revenue and rising enrollment. Salary contracts, insurance and retirement obligations amount for about $1.9 million, or 58 percent of the increase.
The schools are expected to bring in about $300,000 less revenue this year than last year, according to Superintendent Stephen Falcone. Officials are predicting that the state will reimburse the district $200,000 less for special education excess costs than last year.
Another $100,000 in revenue losses comes from the fact that the high school is eliminating the $100 fee that students have to pay to participate in sports and extracurricular activities.
Darien schools are projected to have 60 more students next year, including 43 at the elementary level. Falcone said that they have not added any more teacher positions to the budget, but have put $250,000 in a contingency fund in case more teachers need to be hired. Falcone has also budgeted $40,000 to hire a consultant to see how the buildings can accommodate additional students.
Darien schools will be switching over to the Common Core, a statewide initiative to achieve more uniformity in instruction. They will also be adopting a state-mandated teacher evaluation system. The schools have budgeted $80,000 for teacher research and development to adjust to these changes.
Capital projects that schools will undertake include buying new generators for the schools, replacing oil tanks and adding outdoor P.A. systems at the elementary schools. The district may also add additional measures to improve security.
Falcone presented the proposed budget to the Board of Education Tuesday night. The Board will analyze spending changes and vote on it on Feb. 12. The Board of Finance will vote on it on April 11, and the Representative Town Meeting will vote on it May 13.