Newport School Officials Propose Flat Budget for 2013-14

Newport — The administration has proposed a level-funded 2013-14 budget of $16 million to School Board, which began its public review of the spending plan last night.

The board asked few questions as it went through the 74-page document with SAU 43 Business Manager Chuck Stuart. Stuart said he has not estimated revenue sources yet, so the tax rate impact of the budget has not been calculated.

Superintendent Irwin Sussman pointed out that there were some personnel reductions but also increases in what he called “key” areas such as guidance services, the budget for which is up more than $115,000, about 27 percent.

There are also budgeted increases of $353,000 in out-of-district special education placements. The more than 40 percent increase brings this type of spending to $1.2 million. Tuition for special education in public institutions is down $81,000.

Decreases are peppered throughout the budget in several areas related to personnel and contracted services.

The budget also is reviewed by the town’s Budge Advisory Committee, and on Jan. 3 the School Board and BAC will hold a joint meeting to vote on the budget. A public hearing will be held a week later.

Stuart said the proposed budget will be posted on the SAU 43 web site and copies are available from the SAU office.

The board is also negotiating new contracts with teachers and support staff but no agreement has been reached.

Board member Gordon B. Flint Jr., characterized the talks with the teachers union as being at an “impasse.”

The board will meet again on Dec. 19 to continue reviewing the budget, which will be put before voters next year at the annual School Meeting.