With a projected savings in both energy and special education tuition costs, the Mansfield Board of Education hopes residents will approve a 2011-2012 budget that is a $15,990 decrease from the current budget.
The school board approved a proposed $20,572,170 budget last month, a figure that would represent a .08 percent decrease from the current $20,588,160.
Board of education member Ed Neumann abstained, while the rest of the board approved the proposal.
School board Chair Mark LaPlaca said he is “very proud” the budget is able to maintain current services while proposing a slight budget reduction for next year.
“It really speaks to the hard work and creativeness” of Baruzzi, teachers and staff in the school district, he said.
But he also said the board has been able to keep costs down partly because it has not funded technology upgrades while it waits for the Town Council to make a decision on a possible school building project.
Superintendent Fred Baruzzi reported to the Mansfield Town Council that the proposed budget does include an additional $ 208,230 in salaries and benefits, up 1.22 percent over the current fiscal year:
- certified salaries increased by $46,520 – primarily due to increases for administrative salaries,
- non-certified salaries increased by $91,510 – mainly for contractual increases and an administrative aid at the middle school,
- and benefit costs are up by $70,200.
Salaries and benefit increases would be offset by $224,220 in savings elsewhere in the board of education’s proposal, Baruzzi said.
For example, there is $64,930 in saving mostly due to a new contract for natural gas and a project to convert Mansfield Middle School from electric heat to natural gas, Baruzzi said.
Baruzzi also said the school district has only had to use $156,230 from its federal Education Jobs Fund grant, so the budget proposal uses the remaining $234,721 in 2011-12.
Special education tuition costs decrease by $175,240, or 79.65 percent, down to just $44,760 in the proposed budget.
Baruzzi said the board has $325,245 from a reserve account to cover special education tuition costs.
LaPlaca said the school board has maintained the fund to cover unexpected costs arising in the middle of a school year, but has not had to seriously use the account in recent years.
The board decided to use some of the money accrued in the account to help offset special education costs this year.
Posted March 7, 2011