News Feature

Originally published in The Weekly Packet, January 17, 2019
Sedgwick School Board set to approve $2.59M budget

by Anne Berleant

The Sedgwick School Board appeared satisfied with the latest 2019-20 budget draft after Superintendent Chris Elkington brought the increase down from 5.08 percent to 4.08 percent, or $101,539.

The increase in taxation is 2.08 percent.

As proposed, the budget stands at $2,591,730, with a projected state share of $239,600. Elkington reduced custodian hours by nearly $10,000 and eliminated $20,000 in contingency funds to lower the increase at the board’s request. Re-figuring teacher health insurance costs cut another $22,000.

To compensate for the loss of contingency, Elkington reduced the balance forward for the 2019-20 budget by $7,000 to $28,000.

He also told the board the town must cover a $1,635 increase in the food service budget because of lower revenue, resulting from a reduction in students this year and a reduction in meals sold.

“We’ll have to really watch the expenses,” Elkington said, with a nod to Head Cook Rose Kane.

A projected two additional high school tuitions raised the secondary education budget by $25,000; transportation costs are up by nearly $23,000, and special education costs are up $55,856. Regular instruction is down $48,110, a drop that is helped by $53,895 less in teacher salaries. A new STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) teacher is budgeted at $7,700.

The board will meet on Tuesday, January 22, at 5:30 p.m. to vote on budget approval. The town budget committee will present the proposed budget to selectmen for review. The board will also ask for a separate warrant article to fund an Adult Education budget that would see Sedgwick join the CSD 13 program, at a $6,500 cost for salary and materials.