STAMFORD, Conn. — Stamford’s school board unanimously passed a 3.86 percent increase to its spending plan for the upcoming year at its special meeting Tuesday night.
The $245.85 million plan was a new proposal made by Superintendent Winifred Hamilton during the meeting, which came in response to parents and teachers concerns at last week’s public hearing. The plan is about $9 million more than the approved budget for this year.
On Jan. 15 Hamilton first proposed a roughly $245.4 million spending plan for the upcoming year, however she later added more cuts to bring it down to just less than $245 million, a 3.5 percent increase from last year, before submitting Tuesday’s slightly higher plan.
The approved spending plan would add 34.4 positions total, 11 of which were added since the public hearing, including two additional high school science teachers and seven para-educators at the kindergarten level. The bilingual and English Language Learning structure would remain the same.
“It’s super refreshing to see the superintendent take charge,” Board Member Jerry Pia said, reminiscing about how several years ago Superintendent Dr. Joshua Starr refused to amend his proposed spending plan, and the board spent hours doing it.
He added that the board was advised by others in the city that a 3.5 percent budget increase may be “tight.”
“This is a tremendous effort to make people happy,” Board Member Lorraine Olson said, adding that it is not easy to satisfy parents and teachers, while also being fiscally responsible to the city.
The school’s spending plan will be sent to Mayor Michael Pavia at the end of this month, he will then adjust it in his proposed budget before sending it to the Board of Finance and Board of Representatives before being approved in May. Each of the two other boards can only cut it down more, and can’t add to it.