Superintendent proposes 3.69% budget increase

Superintendent Gary Cialfi presented a proposed 2014-15 budget Tuesday night that represents a 3.69% increase over the current year.

The total proposal is $96.39 million, compared to this year’s $92.96 million budget.

The increase is attributed in large part to contracted salary and benefit increases, as well as few new positions that Dr. Cialfi called “essential” to maintaining academic achievement.

Salaries in the proposal will increase by $1.52 million and benefits by $1.20 million. Transportation costs are set to increase $399,548 and special education tuition will increase by $265,957, according to Cialfi.

“The salaries line does include new positions I want to discuss with you because I feel those are very, very important,” Cialfi said to the Board of Education. “I feel strongly about those positions.”

Some of those positions include a social worker, central registration position, and clerical positions to help with special education paperwork and filing, as well as part-time technology integration specialists. Existing staff will also be asked to take on more work in the high school, in the areas of Latin, art, music, and other subjects. Cialfi said many students have been locked out of subjects like art, music and Latin because of availability issues.

Cialfi said with mandates and the transition to Common Core standards, he is worried that Trumbull’s academic success could slip in the coming year without proper staffing.

Cialfi noted that Trumbull has been efficient in spending, while maintaining status as a high-performing district. Trumbull spends $13,803 per student, which ranks it 13 out of 21 in the district reference group. Districts like Fairfield, Monroe and Greenwich spend more.

“The budget is very lean in terms of flexibility,” Cialfi said.

Salaries, transportation, benefits, utilities, and special education take up all but 6.48% of the budget. That 6.48% is made up of teaching supplies, computers, legal costs, and a few other line items.

The Board of Education vetted part of the budget Tuesday night and will continue discussions Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Long Hill administration building.