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Joel Barlow Spending Looks to Increase 2.7%

Joel Barlow High School's spending plan looks to increase by 2.7 percent next year. "This looks good, it's within expectations," Mark Lewis, Region 9 school board chairman, said Monday night. Last year's budget increase was about the same.

Several factors led to an increase, most notable a 3 percent salary increase for teachers, which is equal to $374,000. This money is a contractual obligation negotiated with the teachers union and will spike the budget by 1.7 percent. Health insurance costs are expected to increase 5 percent to 7 percent also, adding another 0.5 percent increase in the budget.

Programs that were funded with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or ARRA, will need new sources of funding next year. ARRA funds were part of the stimulus package and were good for only two years. ARRA's departure leaves a $100,000 hole in the Region 9 school budget.

Not all departments will need more money. The district hopes to save on transportation costs and with a $17,000 reduction in debt service. Nine special education students are also leaving, with only three entering the school. The per pupil expenditure on special education students is significantly higher than the rest of the school population and this could result in significant savings.

Easton Public Schools expects to see a 3.84 percent increase in its budget, and Redding is looking at a 4.68 percent hike.

What do you think? Are there areas that Barlow needs to expand upon? What areas do you think need to be cut back? Post your thoughts here!

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