Wilton Schools Seek 4.4 Percent More In 2013-14 Budget

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Wilton Schools Superintendent Gary Richards talks about the proposed 2013-14 school year budget on Thursday at Middlebrook School.
Wilton Schools Superintendent Gary Richards talks about the proposed 2013-14 school year budget on Thursday at Middlebrook School. Photo Credit: Melvin Mason
Marissa Lowthert of Wilton asked the board to rethink the plans of going to full-week all-day kindergarten, saying some half-days are better for students.
Marissa Lowthert of Wilton asked the board to rethink the plans of going to full-week all-day kindergarten, saying some half-days are better for students. Photo Credit: Melvin Mason
Kara Berghaus of Wilton told the Wilton Board of Education to give more focus to preschool programming.
Kara Berghaus of Wilton told the Wilton Board of Education to give more focus to preschool programming. Photo Credit: Melvin Mason

WILTON, Conn. – Wilton Public Schools will request a nearly 4.4 percent increase in the  2013-14 Board of Education budget.

Superintendent Gary Richards and the Wilton school board unveiled a $77.3 million spending plan for the next school year to parents and other Wilton residents on Thursday. The spending package is 4.39 percent more than the current budget approved by voters last year.

Employee salaries make up the bulk of the budget, accounting for $45.77 million. That total is $1.41 million more than what is being spent on salaries this year. Employee benefits will make up $15.1 million of the proposed budget, about $506,000 more than 2012-13.

Several parents had questions about plans to move to daily all-day kindergarten instead of having a pair of half-day sessions. Marissa Lowthert said she’d like for the board to reconsider it so parents could have more time to discuss it.

“There hasn’t been much time for parents to think about it,” she said, noting there is research that shows full-day kindergarten can be detrimental. “Wilton has a unique program where children get small-group instruction and the Wilton Schools are recognized for developing well-rounded children.” 

Kara Berghaus supports the budget, but hopes district officials can encourage a platform to focus on preschool and have more money and staff put toward it.

“I feel like it (preschool) needs more attention. The population is increasing … and the need for special services is increasing.” 

Richards said the district will wait to hear from a newly formed security committee before making many changes in school security. Many school districts have started focusing on building security following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown last December.

The Wilton school board is expected to vote on the budget proposal Feb. 7. The Wilton Board of Finance will review the proposal March 27.

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Many people I know have not received a raise in a couple of years and / or have had to pay into their health benefits. The amount i have to co tribute to my health insurance plan has tripled in the last two years. While I don't wish this on anyone, it would be nice if everyone sacrificed a little until our economy improves.

It is actually worse than the national and state issue

Have we not had enough? How many companies have been able to increase salarys by over 4 %? I believe in a good education, but I also believe that we as a town need to become realistic on how much that should really cost. It seems like every year the largest cost in the town budget, schools, presents out of site increases that are based on throwing darts at the wall and hoping most of them do not fall off. This reminds me of our current national situation. The ones who will pay the price of outlandish spending are our kids and grand kids. In Wilton it is similiar, the current generation keeps putting more cost into the system, gets the kids educated. Then, if possible , sells the home, and moves on. This leaves the new residents down the road to deal with this expensive budget item!!!