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New London school committee looks at spending proposals from principals

By Julianne Hanckel

Publication: The Day

Published March 07. 2013 4:00AM

New London - This is the first year that administrators at each school have had a large amount of control over forming their proposed 2013-14 budgets, something the superintendent of schools on Wednesday called a "shift in approach."

"What they're getting a lot more familiar with under this kind of system is what it actually costs to run a school," Superintendent Nicholas A. Fischer said. "They're much more clear about staffing decisions, money they're spending on professional services ..."

For a second night, members of the board's Finance and Audit Committee reviewed the proposed individual school budgets.

As part of the district's Strategic Operating Plan, it has allowed principals more say by letting them choose which programs or services will remain and where anticipated federal and state grant monies will be allocated.

In prior years, Fischer said, once principals established their budget, the district's finance office was responsible for making changes to programs and services within the budget.

During the committee's discussion, the anticipated funding in grants from the state and federal government prompted questions from committee Chairwoman Delanna Muse.

"It's confusing," she said, referencing gaps in proposed budget worksheets where grant funding amounts would be.

Dashes instead of dollar amounts in individual budgets indicated items that a grant would fund or a line item that principals chose not to fund, according to Fischer.

The school district is anticipating $25.1 million in Education Cost Sharing grants under Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's proposed biennial budget, a net increase of $72,000.

This fiscal year, New London also received $809,001 in Alliance Grant funds, but under Malloy's biennial proposal the city could receive an additional $900,000.

Fischer said the additional allocation is what the district is "unsure" about receiving.

A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for Tuesday with a final budget review immediately following that meeting.

The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. on the third floor of the Science and Technology Magnet High School. The board's budget is due to the mayor on March 15.

j.hanckel@theday.com

SCHOOLS' SPENDING

Jennings Elementary School

Per pupil expense: $6,717.95*

Total budget: $5,152,324

Nathan Hale Elementary School

Per pupil expense: $6,717.95*

Total budget: $3,926,572

Winthrop Magnet Elementary School

Per pupil expense: $6,717.95*

Total budget: $5,849,846

Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School

Per pupil expense: $8,397.44*

Total budget: $6,936,206

New London High School

Per pupil expense: $10,076.93*

Total budget: $7,175,878

Science and Technology Magnet High School

Per pupil expense: $10,076.93*

Total budget: $9,982,476

*Expected to change based on special education and English language learner allocations.

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