New Milford school board unanimously approves $71 million budget proposal for 2023-24

NEW MILFORD — The school board unanimously approved outgoing interim Superintendent JeanAnn Paddyfote’s proposed $71 million budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year.

She proposes increasing spending by 5.03 percent, or $3.4 million, over the current school year's budget.

This is largely due to a $1 million increase in salaries and health insurance costs, and a $900,000 hike in transportation costs.

“I am pleased the board understands the major drivers of the budget increase as salaries, health insurance and transportation,” Paddyfote said. “The board adjusted expected revenue in gate receipts to ensure all New Milford Public Schools students can attend athletic events by adjusting the parking permit fee down from $150 to $100. The board understands this budget sustains what we are doing today in our schools.”

The school board held three public workshops on the proposed school budget over the last two weeks and approved the budget on Jan. 26.

Under $334,000 of the proposed increase is for new budget items, including salaries and benefits for three new elementary school teachers, curriculum revisions for architectural drafting classes at New Milford High School, a kiln at Schaghticoke Middle School, and a bus app that would allow parents to check whether their child boarded the bus and then track the bus.

The three new teaching positions include two second grade teachers — one at Northville Elementary School and one at Hill and Plain Elementary School — and a fourth grade teacher at Sarah Noble Intermediate School.

Mayor Pete Bass said on Monday that he's waiting for the school board to submit the proposal, which he expects to receive on Tuesday. He'll present his recommended school and town budget to the Town Council and the Board of Finance on Feb. 14. The Town Council and Board of Finance will begin their joint hearing on Feb. 21. The Town Council will deliberate on March 9, with the budget then moving to the finance board. Residents will eventually vote on the budget in a referendum in the spring.