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Westport School Board Settles On $104 Million Budget

WESTPORT, Conn. – Westport school officials hope to have about $4 million more to spend next year. The Board of Education on Monday night approved a $104.18 million proposed spending package for the 2013-14 school year.

This proposed budget represents an increase of 3.95 percent — or $4 million — over the current year’s budget of $100.2 million. However, that is more than $1 million less than the $105.38 million spending package Superintendent Elliott Landon recommended last month, which would have increased spending by more than 5 percent.

The requested budget would allow the district to upgrade technology. Specifically, it would allow wireless Internet to be installed at Kings Highway and Coleytown Elementary, the only two schools in the district without wi-fi.

Another technology project planned is the expansion of broadband at Staples High School. This project would allow more students to bring their own electronic devices to school.

Knowing the Board of Finance would probably not approve a more than 5 percent spending increase, the school board found ways to reduce Landon’s recommended budget without impacting educational programs. For example, the board cut $500,000 from the proposed health insurance reserves.

Anticipating a higher reimbursement from the state for special education costs, the board also cut $100,000 in that category. The board also cut $50,000 from supplies and equipment costs.

The proposed budget must be reviewed and approved by the Board of Finance and later by the Representative Town Meeting, the town’s legislative body.

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