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Enrollment Shift Drives Budget Split in Easton

Region 9 Board of Education members were treated to letters of praise and a musical performance by Easton students Ryan Lei and Jackie Eckhardt on Tuesday night. After the kudos, the board passed the $12.7 million budget proposal for Joel Barlow High School .

Easton's contribution to Barlow's budget is set to increase 3.809 percent for the 2011-12 budget. That's a $383,355 jump over last year. By comparison, Redding's contribution to the regional school's budget will increase $104,433, or 0.937 percent.

“The town's are billed for their portion based on the enrollment as of Oct. 1 of the previous year,” said Catherine Gombos of Easton, Region 9 Board of Education vice chair. The numbers showed an upswing in the number of students coming from Easton.

In total, the Region 9 budget, which funds the high school, will rise 2.3 percent over last year's budget. The final number after a round of cuts is $12.7 million. The board asked the school administration to hit a 2.37 percent increase last week after being presented with a budget that would have come in at 2.54 percent. Cuts were made, and a proposal was on the floor to take a $14,000 reduction in the pension payments.

At the zero hour, the administration came in under the requested reduction and kept the pension payment after the announcement of a teacher's impending retirement. Officials wouldn't name the teacher but said it was someone in the special education department with enough experience to have moved up the pay scale. The estimated differential in cost of the exiting teacher and an incoming one will save the school $30,000 and allow it to maintain the full pension payments.

“This is probably the first time a principal has brought you a proposal under your request,” Head of School Thomas McMorran told the board members.

Are you happy with the $12.7 million budget for Joel Barlow High School? Too low? Too high? Leave a comment below.

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