I am issuing this release because of the unprecedented interest of parents and others in the 2007-2008 Schools budget. As the Chairman of the Board of Finance, I am pleased to report that the Board of Education and the Board of Finance were able to work cooperatively to finalize the School budget in a fiscally responsible manner, yet still satisfying all of the goals and objectives of the BOE in ensuring the highest quality education for our children.
As those who attended the budget hearings know, the Board conducted a very thorough, but fair, review of the budget, and asked many penetrating and challenging questions. In the end, the Board approved an operating budget (exclusive of health insurance) that was 4.54% over the previous year – closely approximating the guidance set by the Board of Finance.
I am particularly pleased with the manner in which the Board of Finance addressed certain components of the Schools’ capital expenditure budget. The Board tentatively approved a budget of $1 million for security related expenditures pending completion of a comprehensive in-depth study of the security needs of our schools. The study is expected to be completed in the near future by a committee appointed by the Board of Education, to include members of the administrative staff of the BOE, representatives from the Town Emergency Preparedness Team and an independent consultant. I am confident that this effort will determine the most appropriate security measures necessary to ensure the safety of our children.
I believe we all owe a vote of thanks to those, both in our Schools and our Town government, who worked so long and hard to achieve these results.
Judy A. Neville