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Region 14 Superintendent’s Budget Calls for 3.92% Increase

In the above clip from the 2019-20 Region 14 budget video, Wayne McAllister, Region 14’s Director of Finance and Operations and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Olzacki discuss how the proposed $35,319,886 will be used. The entire 33-minute budget presentation can be seen here.

WOODBURY – Region 14 Superintendent of Schools Dr. Joseph Olzacki is asking for a 3.92% increase in the budget for the 2019-20 school year.

If passed by voters in Woodbury and Bethlehem, the $35,319,886 budget request would be the highest lift since a 4.9% increase was approved for the 2013-14 school year.

Last year, voters rejected then-Superintendent Dr. Anna Cutaia’s request for a 2.37% budget increase, and then voted to approve a 1.95% hike in the schools budget.

In a video presentation, Olzacki said he received a lot of feedback from the community on what Region 14 schools should be and can be, and said the community wanted him to be “financially focused on wants and needs,” but to maintain what the school system already has.

In the video, Olzacki said the budget increase request is as high as it is because initial bond payments are due on the high school renovation bonds, Region 14’s special education needs, new teacher contracts, and the Superintendent’s budget are “colliding all at once.”

Region 14 School District Board of Education and Nonnewaug Teachers Association reached an agreement on a new three-year contract in February which calls for total salary increases of 8.6% over the term of the three-year contract, which is consistent with the statewide average for three-year teacher contract settlements this year. But the bulk of the proposed 2019-20 budget increase comes from the debt services side of the ledger, not operations.

In the video, Wayne McAllister, Region 14’s Director of Finance and Operations, explains that dues on the Nonnewaug construction bonds and insurance costs will be up $927,074 in 2018-19. Though salaries and benefits make up about 73% of the total budget, the Olzacki’s budget only calls for a $2,842 increase in salaries.

There will, however, be some staff reductions under Olzacki’s budget. If approved, Region 14 would lose three positions: Director of Human Resources in the Central Office, a classroom teacher at Mitchell Elementary School, and a classroom teacher at Woodbury Middle School. The position of Library Media Specialist position at Woodbury Middle School would also become part-time.

The budget referendum is scheduled for May 7.

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