General

Windsor Locks Finance Board set to review budgets tonight – Journal Inquirer

WINDSOR LOCKS — The Board of Finance tonight will review and make possible changes to the proposed Board of Education and Board of Selectmen budgets for 2022-23 at 6:30 in Town Hall.

The public hearing and vote on the combined budgets is set for April 19.

The proposed $33.1 million Board of Education budget for next fiscal year is an increase of 5.56%, up $1.74 million over the current year.

The proposed Board of Selectmen’s budget shows an increase of 8.9%, up $16,140 for a total of $196,579.

The tax rate will be determined after the Board of Finance adopts a final budget proposal.

“The Board of Finance is still in the process of reviewing budgets and no numbers have been set,” First Selectman Paul Harrington said. Windsor Locks “is one of the last towns that sets its budget per our charter and the dates approvals will happen soon.”

School Superintendent Shawn Parkhurst said the goals of the education spending plan include “to maintain class size while adjusting staffing patterns to reflect enrollment changes, academic and social needs of students, and achieve efficiencies.”

Parkhurst said that the school system should provide technology and enhanced programs that effectively support student success in a digital learning environment and provide necessary resources for all students.

Overall, staff salaries and benefits make up 44.49% of the education budget request. Teacher salaries are up 24.49% for an increase of $427,260.

The school board plans to eliminate one kindergarten teacher and add one world language teacher at the high school. New high school courses are also being considered under the plan, including computer science, journalism, digital illustration and design, and Black and Latino studies. Middle school algebra and an English language learner teacher would also be added by reassigning staff, according to the superintendent.

According to the spending plan, The RISE Transition Academy is projected to save the Board of Education $1,080,797. The RISE — Realizing Individual Skills and Expertise — Academy is a post-secondary school for students in the independent-living support program.

As for municipal government, broken down by department the proposed budget for next fiscal year includes an increase of 5.3% at $14,697 for the finance department. The assessor’s office will see a 10.8% increase for a total of $24,065, while the legal department account will rise 33.6% for an increase of $20,500. Information technology is projected to decrease by 4.8%, or $8,367.

General government dues and fees and engineering costs will not change.

Under the spending plan the building official salary fund would increase 7.7%, up $22,445 for a total of $312,77.

Funding for maintenance and upkeep of all town buildings should decrease by 22.9%, down $11,000, for a total request of $27,100.

Meanwhile, the request for Town Hall funds increased by 11.3% up $18,993, for a total of $186,386.

The Senior Center also may see an increase of 8.9%, up $8,677 for a total of $106,579, along with Animal Control which has requested a 16.5% increase, up $1,146 for a total of $8,101. Youth Services also is seeking an increase of 15.8%, up $11,431 for a total of $84,004, along with Veteran Services, up by 60%, or $600 for a total of $1,600, while Social Services would go up by 12.7%, or $11,748 for a total allocation of $104,099.

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