The Amity Region 5 Board of Education this week approved a school district budget for 2013-14 with a proposed 2.49 percent increase.
The approved budget calls for operating expenditures of $44,698,660 for grades 7-12 in the towns of Woodbridge, Bethany and Orange. Member town allocations, which taxpayers must pay, total $43,480,258.
Last minute reductions totaling $64,727.25 reduced the proposed budget increase from 2.64 percent to 2.49 percent.
That money came from moving unspent balances from capital improvement projects for a high school generator, high school roof restoration work, the high school air handler and natural gas boiler conversions, and redesignating it to the 2013-14 debt service account.
The Amity Region 5 school district budget must still be approved by the voters in a referendum election this spring.
Some board members argued in favor of reinstating a $20,000 cost for a study of future enrollment that was previously cut from the budget.
Preliminary projections indicate that enrollment might drop off considerably after the 2014-15 school year. Board member Thomas Hurley said the study is vital to plan for the district’s future needs, but its usefulness would decline if it is put off until 2014-15.
On outgoing Superintendent John Brady’s advice, the board put off making a decision on the study until the 2012-13 budget balance picture is clearer, probably in another month.
Previous financial reports indicated that the district might end the current year with enough of a balance that it could be possible to take care of some cost items from 2013-14, opening up enough funding to put the enrollment study back in.
But Brady said that was before the snowstorms in February created a $46,000 deficit in the district’s snow removal account. He said the district is waiting to see how much storm aid funding from FEMA it would get to close some of that deficit.