Last night, the Board of Finance unanimously approved the Board of Education’s proposed 2012-13 budget.
The figure — praised by Finance members on both sides of the aisle — is $100.2 million. That’s a 2.17% percent increase over the current budget.
Tonight, Board of Education chairman Don O’Day issued this statement:
I want to sincerely thank the school community for their tremendous level of support on Thursday night. If you were unable to make it, trust me when I say that Town Hall was packed. The strong message from kids, teachers, parents, and administrators in attendance was unanimous: Westport’s schools are a priority, and should be funded. Like no other year I can remember, the Avi Kaner-led Board of Finance heartily agreed.
I want to especially thank Janis Collins, who was the first to say that she supported the 2012-13 school budget and would vote to approve it without a reduction. Janis recognized the school administration and the BOE for producing a lean and thoughtful budget. Her sincere recognition was much appreciated after months of hard work and difficult choices by the school administration and the Board of Education.
The Board of Finance approved the BOE’s 2012-13 school budget without cuts. The approval followed a commitment that I made, on behalf of the BOE, to review, with the administration and my BOE colleagues, different ways to lower class sizes without increasing the 2012-13 budget. We will re-double our efforts to explore that goal for the elementary schools, as well as the middles schools and Staples. Tom Lasersohn deserves recognition for passionately speaking about the benefits of lower class sizes.
The results may not be exactly what everyone wants, but I do know this: Because of the willingness of the Board of Finance and the Board of Education to work together, we are all in a better place for our kids.
Thanks again to all of my fellow Westporters, for your support of our schools.