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Greenwich, CT: Special ed part of 6.5% budget increase

Nov 5, 2023, Greenwich (CT) Register Citizen: Greenwich schools' proposed operating budget 6.5% higher than last year, biggest jump in 20 years

Competitive substitute teacher wages, increased utility expenses and more special education students are driving Superintendent Toni Jones's proposed 2024-25 operating budget, making its 6.5 percent increase over this year the largest jump in more than 20 years.

The proposed budget is $194,226,990 — $11,883,547 more than the current year's operating budget and a 6.5 percent increase; Jones said the proposal "is based on needs."

Last year's operating budget was slightly less than 3 percent higher than the year before.

"We have really pressing needs and especially in staffing with the growth of many, many of our programs," Jones said at the Thursday night Board of Education budget meeting. …

Jones said the district's special education population grew by 65 students between October 2022 and October 2023, so "the district needs teachers, para-professionals, speech teachers and psychologists" for 2024-25.

Two state legislative changes — moving the kindergarten cutoff date so students must turn 5 years old by Sept. 1 to attend school and extending special education services to allow students to stay enrolled through June of the year they turn 22 — will also impact enrollment size.

"We need to implement our special education action plan," Jones said. "We made that commitment to our staff, to our families."

To offset the proposed budget increase, Jones said, the district could make changes to current programs that would need input from the Board of Education and from the community….

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