Litchfield session eyes 4.2% more for district

LITCHFIELD – The School District will hold its annual deliberative session Saturday at Campbell High School starting at 2 p.m.

At the session, registered voters will be given a presentation of the proposed operating budget and other warrant articles. Voters will be able to discuss each item on the warrant, and then either approve or amend it. The version of the warrant agreed upon at the deliberative session will be voted on the district’s general election, which is scheduled for March 10.

Here is a look at the warrant that will be presented at the deliberative session.

The proposed school district operating budget is $20,802,147, an increase of $832,226, or 4.2 percent, over the current budget.

A breakdown of the increase by the school board shows that the majority of the increase – roughly 40 percent – is because of a $321,725 first-time expenditure to institute public kindergarten in accordance with the state Department of Education mandate.

Town Meeting ‘09<< Not included in the proposed budget are two warrant articles. Article 2 calls for a $457,623 increase for teachers' salaries and benefits. Article 3 calls for $50,000 to be added to the special education reserve fund. Figuring those two articles into the budget, the proposed budget would be $21,309,770, an increase of $1,339,849 or 6.7 percent. If the budget, including the two warrant articles, is approved by voters, the estimated tax impact would add $1.08 to the tax rate, which is currently $10.32 per $1,000 of assessed property valuation. The default budget, which would go into effect by law if the operating budget is rejected by voters, is $20,849,678. The figure represents an increase of $879,757, or 4.4 percent, over the 2008-09 default budget.