A Committee of the Danbury City Council is recommending that the education portion of the budget be lower than what the Board of Education requested. The Board sought $127.5 million, but the Mayor has recommended $124 million. That smaller number is still a 2.3 percent increase in spending over the current year.
Superintendent of Schools Dr Sal Pascarella says full day kindergarten, a new middle school and increased security are leading to some of the increase. Special education is a major cost driver in this budget. Danbury is looking to create a a so-called building brace program to keep kids in the district rather than outplace a student. Part of the outplacement cost is transportation.
Pascarella says the state has flat funded Education Cost Sharing grants to Danbury since 2008, even though the City has seen consistent enrollment increases.
Pascarella says if there are more budget cutbacks there will have to be fewer teachers, less supplies and consolidated administrators.