Board aims to stay level
More control of budget process sought by officials
MILFORD – The School Board will be looking for a fairly level budget this year as it gets ready for the 2017 school elections.
In March, voters rejected the district’s operating budget for the second year in a row, and board Chairman Paul Dargie said at a recent meeting that this year the board will take greater control early in the budget process.
"I’d like to see us tilt back a little toward more conservative numbers," he said. "Taxpayers weren’t as well represented" in the last budget.
The initial budget should come in "at the bottom-line dollar value" of a traditional default budget, he said. And the default budget should be calculated as most school districts do it, by including expenses in the current year’s budget along with any mandatory changes, such as pay increases from collective bargaining, and minus one-time expenses.
In the past, Milford has considered positions eliminated in the budget a "one-time expense," which Dargie called a loophole that no other districts use, and Milford shouldn’t.
This year the budget will probably reflect theelimination of four positions, in line with declining enrollments. Last year, there were 4.5 positions cut for the same reason.
The proposal for tuition-based, full-day kindergarten will be evaluated separately, Dargie said, and on its own merits.
From a taxpayer’s perspective, he said, "It is pretty much a wash."
Dargie also laid out ideas for the board’s budget development schedule.
During the first meeting in November, administrators will offer a proposed budget. About two weeks after that, the board will meet with the Budget Committee on a Saturday for five hours, and in December, the board will meet to try to finalize the spending plan and all warrant articles.
The board voted unanimously to approve the guidelines.
Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.