Norwich adopts tentative budget with 1.87 percent tax levy increase

NORWICH – The Norwich Board of Education adopted a tentative 2011-12 budget Monday night, totalling $37,090,193. While it represents no increase in spending over the current year’s budget, funding the spending plan will require an estimated 1.87 percent increase in the local property tax levy. The district will also apply $1,729,573 from its undesignated fund to mitigate a further tax increase or additional cuts.

A resolution to adopt the tentative budget carried with a vote of 5 to 2, with Joe Stagliano, Tom Morrone, Dr. Linda Horovitz, Perry Owen and Heather Fredenburg voting in favor. Sally Chirlin and Priscilla Johnson cast the dissenting votes.

While the board adopted the total dollar amount of the budget and the associated impact on the local tax levy, the details of the spending plan are still a work in progress.

According to Fredenburg, the board will continue to review the cuts proposed by Superintendent Gerard O’Sullivan in the coming weeks.

“There is a lot out on the table,” she said, listing a number of items which need to be discussed. Those topics included Race to the Top; the district’s administrative structure; the 2011-12 schedule; Advanced Placement opportunities; and compliance with state education department mandates.

As currently proposed, the budget includes myriad cuts, primarily in staffing. The tentative plan presented by O’Sullivan last week called for the elimination of 32 positions, 25 of which will be vacated through retirement or resignation. Seven additional jobs were also slated to be cut, two others will be reduced to part-time and secretarial hours will be “realigned” under the plan.

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