Monday, March 01, 2021

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R4 Supervision District Committee Holds Second Workshop on $8.2M Proposed Budget

After adjustments were made from the first budget workshop, Superintendent of Schools Brian White presented a proposed $8,257,430 total Supervision District budget for the 2021-’22 school year at the Supervision District Committee’s second budget workshop on Jan. 12. The proposed budget represents a change of $278,720, or a 3.49 percent increase, over the current year’s budget.

The Supervision District budget covers the shared administration costs for the Regional 4 District Schools. The allocations of cost among the schools in the Regional 4 School District for the Supervision District budget are based on Average Daily Membership (ADM).

While a page containing historical, present, and projected enrollment data figures wasn't part of the Dec. 16 workshop pending review, the district had shared the ADM calculation and associated percentages of town cost share for the proposed 2021–'22 budget at the Dec. 16, 2020 workshop and then again on Jan. 12.

“We shared this [ADM] information previously this fall when Kelly Sterner was still with us. The information on this particular page or slide is the same as what has been shared previously, but I did want to call everybody’s attention to the fact that we do have this information as part of the document,” White said. “That information is unchanged from our last time together.”

The main drivers of the proposed increase for the Supervision District budget were in the salaries and employee benefits categories. These categories account for approximately 82 percent of the total budget.

In the proposed budget for the 2021-’22 school year, there was a proposed increase of 4.68 percent, or $227,165 in the salaries category and a proposed increase of 3.45 percent or $56,639 in the employee benefits category from the current year.

At the Jan. 12 meeting, White reported the changes for each budget category that were made based on feedback received at the Dec. 16 workshop.

Among the changes discussed, White called attention to the line associated with teacher salaries, which saw a $152,416 or 4.88 percent increase over current year.

A proposed plan to consolidate the salaries of staff associated with the Extended School Year summer program into the Supervision District budget, from the Chester, Deep River, Essex. and Region 4 school budgets, accounted for $133,000 of the increase.

There was some discussion among committee members related to how to allocate the costs of the extended school year (ESY) program, based on usage of the program by each school district versus ADM.

No decision was reached on how to allocate cost, but consensus was reached to move forward with consolidating the ESY staffing salaries in the Supervision District budget. The topic will be revisited at the next budget workshop, on Jan. 20.

Other adjustments under salaries included a proposed $5,000 stipend for an English as a second language (ESL) coordinator, a proposed increase for substitute teachers to $30,000, a $5,000 or 20 percent change from current year, and a proposed increase to the salaries of the district’s network technicians, who are increasing their workdays from 10-month to 12-month positions.

In the employee benefits category, among the adjustments made since the last budget workshop, there were increases to the municipal employee retirement fund and the FICA/Medicare lines, related to the workday increases for the network technicians.

Another change in this category since the last budget workshop was an increase in the annuities line from $27,500 to $42,000, according to Supervision District budget workshop documents.

“It’s also important to note that in doing this, we made corresponding reductions in the salary line, and really what that change comes from, is just trying to dial in these numbers as precisely as we can, particularly for our administrators that are in the supervision budget,” said White.

The remaining budget categories, which account for approximately 18 percent of the proposed budget, were discussed for the remainder of the meeting.

Recordings of all remote meetings of the boards of education and supervision district committee are posted on the Regional 4 school district’s website www.reg4.k12.ct.us under “Board of Education.”

The last budget workshop for the Supervision District Committee’s 2021-’22 school year budget is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 20 at 6 p.m. A public budget meeting is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 1 at 7 p.m.


Elizabeth Reinhart covers news for Chester, Deep River, and Essex for Zip06. Email Elizabeth at e.reinhart@shorepublishing.com.

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