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We find the Board of Education’s budget balanced in maintaining the high standards that we have come to expect from the Madison schools while being mindful of the financial impact on the community. With the closing of Island Avenue School, this budget has been able to avoid the five-year trend of 2.26 percent increases, which would have led to a $1.31 million increase this year. These increases each year are due to typical fixed contractual obligations involving salaries and benefits, such as health insurance. Thus, if no savings were realized from Island Avenue School closing, the total budget (if rising 2.26 percent) would be $59.4 million compared to the savings of $1.37 million from the actual budget request of $58.0 million.
These savings occurred in the face of rising contractual costs such as salary increases of $679,649.00, rising costs involving $574,915.00 for Special Education placements, and health insurance obligations of $143,250.00
For seven years, the Board of Education has not made any major capital requests because of the ongoing facilities review study. The current requests from the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) reflects a total of $570,000 which involves $390,000, for the playground at Brown School, $75 000 for the assumption of the security improvements, and $130,000 for a storage unit at the high school.
In addition to the savings described above, the Board of Education proposes to keep to the formula of decreasing one teacher position when there has been a decrease of 20 students. The board has proposed savings to the town budget of a total of $154,000 in security costs over the last year and projected new year.
We thank the leadership of the Board of Education for improving the quality of education for our community while being mindful of the financial costs.
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