Superintendent of Schools Joanne Benton updated School Committee members on her proposed budget, a figure that has decreased since she originally presented it several weeks ago.
Benton is requesting a budget of $33,628,350, which is a potential increase of $1,058,520. That total would be a 3.25 percent increase over last year’s budget of $33,628,350.
During her initial budget presentation in December, Benton proposed a 4.61 percent increase. When voters approved last year’s budget, it was a 3.50 percent spike over Fiscal Year 2012.
“Continuing to support 21st century learning initiatives throughout the district must continue to be a priority with the FY14 budget,” Benton wrote during her presentation to the School Committee on Wednesday night. “We must define what constitutes a 21st century education and provide the teachers with the tools they need to accomplish this.”
If approved, the budget would include $629,962 in salary increases and $429,558 in non-salary costs.
Benton is also requesting $317,240 in capital projects that include smart boards at Wilmington Middle School, wireless infrastructure at six schools in town, lab replacement at North and West Intermediate Schools, a new mini van and a switch replacement at the middle school.
By making six schools wireless accessible, Benton it will increase availability of the buildings after school hours in addition to enhancing the learning experience for students.
This year’s budget requests a total of 9.9 new staff members, including a social worker at Wilmington High School and a technology integration specialist.
Next up for the budget proposal is Town Manager Jeff Hull’s budget presentation on January 28, a budget hearing on February 13, a budget vote on February 13, the Finance Committee budget meeting on March 5 and Annual Town Meeting at Wilmington Middle School on May 4.
“I feel extremely fortunate to live in a community where the process is transparent and people are supportive,” said Benton. “It’s a real working relationship that makes my job a lot easier.”