Superintendent Dr. Winifred Hamilton presented the proposed school budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year to the Board of Education's Finance Committee Tuesday night. Hamilton’s proposed $250 million budget is a 2.37% increase from the 2013-2014 budget.
In the report, Hamilton identified enrollment; achievement; mental health and security; and federal, state, and local mandates as key challenges to the budget.
Overcrowding in the city’s elementary schools has been a controversial topic in Stamford. An elementary enrollment comparison showed that Stamford has the highest average number of students per school compared to surrounding towns like Norwalk, Greenwich, Darien, and New Canaan. According to the budget report, Stamford has 2,472 more elementary school students than Norwalk, but the same number of schools. Stamford has 3,567 more students than Greenwich, and only 1 more school.
According to the budget report, 700 additional students have enrolled in the city’s elementary schools over the last few years. The report pointed to the need for additional staff to address the enrollment increase as well as to help struggling students. Hamilton’s report projected the need for about 57 additional staff positions, which includes about 31 teachers, 18 para-educators for struggling students, and a principal for a possible new school.
Hamilton’s report also proposed $400,000 for curriculum and instructional needs including a Westover reading program, a Foreign Language Exploratory program, instrumental music rentals, and an interscholastic program at Stamford High and Westhill High. Hamilton also projected the need for 11 additional buses costing a total of $880,000.
The report said 95.8% of the SPS budget goes to fixed costs and contractual obligations such as salaries, benefits, student transportation, and utilities.
To see Dr. Hamilton’s full budget report click the following link: http://www.stamfordpublicschools.org/sites/stamfordps/files/file/file/superintendents_2014-15_budget_presentation_final_1142104.pdf