Board approves $31.63 million budget
By Jennifer LeNoble
The New London School Board approved a 2016-17 budget that projects a decrease in the tax levy by .73 percent and an increase in the district’s overall spending by 3.4 percent.
The board approved the $31.63 million budget during its regular board meeting Monday, Sept. 12, after Director of Business Services Joseph Marquardt presented the annual budget hearing.
“A school district budget establishes educational objectives, financial constraints, and supports goals that formulate the foundation for successes of not only our students, but our families, staff and community,” Marquardt said. “This captures the essence of our mission, “Success for All Students,” and is key in creating a balanced budget that matches the board’s strategic plan.”
The budget calls for a $291,000 estimated increase in state aid, a $275,000 increase in grant revenues and corresponding expenditures, a one percent decrease in property taxes, and a one percent increase in property valuation. The tax levy is projected to decrease because equalization aid is projected to increase by 1.9 percent.
“Spending is higher because of grant expenditures in this year’s budget and increased categorical state aid,” Marquardt said. “All these numbers are a projection; the final levy and spending totals can change up until levy certification on Oct. 24.”
In addition, the budget includes a 10 cent wage increase for support staff, and a .16 percent wage increase for certified staff and administration.
“We often have challenges with our budget but working together can definitely create the opportunities that we all can hope for, for the students that attend our schools in New London,” Marquardt said. “We are grateful for the support of our community and work to demonstrate value for their investment.”
Parkview safety update
During last month’s school board meeting, Marquardt shared with administrators and board members changes being made to Parkview Elementary School pick-up and drop-off procedures for safety reasons.
The city of New London painted a crosswalk that extends across both north and south bound lanes of Werner-Allen Boulevard, and there would be limited angled parking for pick-up and drop-off in front of the building near the awning cover.
Since the start of the new school year, administrators, staff, and New London Police officers have monitored the progress of changes.
“The new procedure is much better,” Marquardt said. “Parents and guardians are getting familiar with how to accommodate the changes and each day is smoother. We really want to thank our parents for being flexible with the new changes.”
The district has begun planning the next stages to make the pick-up and drop-off more efficient. The focus will be the grass area between Werner-Allen and Hatten Park’s stone wall.
“That area will be difficult to keep free of snow and mud during the winter months,” Marquardt said. “It is likely that a sidewalk will be needed from the corner of Jennings Street down to Millard Street.”
Marquardt further commented that this was a similar concern at New London Intermediate/Middle School after the initial implementation of new pick-up and drop-off procedures.
The estimated cost for this project is $15,000 to $20,000. The city of New London and the school district would partner on the expense of this project as they did for the Intermediate/Middle School project a few years ago, according to Marquardt.
In addition to the sidewalk project there has been discussion on the possibility of creating a path through the stone wall so that parents could park in Hatten Park to pick-up or drop-off students.
“There is some concern about how fast vehicles travel through Hatten Park, so further discussion is needed before final plans are made,” Marquardt said.