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Superintendent'S FY25 Budget Transmittal

Please accept the following as an overview of the Superintendent’s recommended budget for the 2025 fiscal year. Next year’s proposal of $40,149,671 is a net increase of $1,615,778 over this year’s current budget of $38,533,892. As a result of a reduction in state and federal grants, our 4.19% proposal represents a modest increase of 3.80% in expenditures over the previous year.  Reductions to grant revenue, fixed budgetary expenses, contractual obligations, and inflation continue to challenge our ability to keep the overall cost of education down for Suffield taxpayers.  With this being said, I believe our FY25 proposal will be consistent with other school districts across the State of Connecticut’s while preserving the quality of education that ranks the Suffield Public Schools among the very best.

As with each year, developing the annual fiscal plan for the Suffield Public Schools requires thoughtful consideration of the district’s priorities, initiatives, and student outcomes.  Due to the timing of our budget preparation, it is important to highlight that the annual budget proposal will remain a work in progress throughout the deliberations of the Board of Education before it is transmitted to the Board of Finance. In creating the FY25 Superintendent’s Proposal, our administration made every effort to accurately forecast our school district expenses and grant revenue offsets well in-advance of the next fiscal year.  With this, we also acknowledge and anticipate that changes to the FY25 budget will continue to occur due to the dynamic nature of school budgets.  Legislative mandates, personnel and health benefit changes, special education costs, and collective bargaining outcomes are all variables capable of creating significant shifts within our budget forecast.  These changes can happen before the fiscal year begins, as well as, throughout the budget year.  Fortunately, we have been able to successfully manage these unanticipated impacts, and we have done so with transparently and with sound fiscal management practices. 

Prior to concluding, I would like to thank the community of Suffield, the Boards of Education, Finance and Selectmen, and the Advisory Commission on Capital Expenditures for your continued support of the Suffield Public Schools.  The following synopsis will provide you with considerations for the FY25 budget proposal.

Key Budget Initiatives

As we look into the future, our key initiatives in the 2024-2025 budget reflect the most current trends happening in schools across the country. This budget proposal enhances our ability to provide new academic opportunities, intervention programming for students struggling in mathematics and literacy development, safety and security, as well as, improved mental health resources that will assist us in supporting the emotional well-being of students.

·       1.0 FTE SHS Special Education Teacher - Agriscience (CERTIFIED TEACHING)

·       1.0 FTE MIS Reading Interventionist (CERTIFIED TEACHING)

·       2.0 FTE SMS Academic Support (NON-CERTIFIED)

·       1.0 FTE Athletic Trainer (NON-CERTIFIED)

·       1.0 FTE Van Driver (NON-CERTIFIED)

·       0.5 FTE Human Resource and Finance Assistant (NON-CERTIFIED)

·       0.2 FTE Physical Therapist (NON-CERTIFIED)

Wage and Benefit Increases:

In May 2023, the Board of Education collaborated with the Board of Finance in setting a 5.69 % increase to the Board of Education budget.  As anticipated, our declining enrollment has plateaued, decreasing by only two (2) students over the past two years.  NESDEC Enrollment projections show a reduction of twenty (20) students next year, before it increases by two hundred thirty-two (232) students over the following 8 years. 

For FY25, the fixed operating costs that substantiate our most significant drivers cannot be easily adjusted due to contractual obligations. The budget drivers that represent the greatest share of our overall proposed 4.19% increase are the increases to our negotiated contracts and the projected increase to our self-funded health insurance costs. This represents $26,002,541 (salaries) and $5,252,582 (benefits) of the budget proposal.

Negotiated Wage Percentage Increases without Increment:

·       SEA (Teachers)                                                                                  2.02%

·       SAG (Administrators):                                                                       2.5 % (No step)

·       CHCA (Nurses):                                                                                  3.0%

·       Teamsters Local 671 (Para, Custodians, Secretaries, Academic Support):          TBD

·       CILU Local 222, Unit 38 (Food Service):                                          3.0%

Health Insurance Collaborative w/Town:

·       Increase:                                                                                                 6%

Personnel Decreases, Additions, and Restructuring

The following represent the proposed personnel changes to the 2024-2025 budget proposal.

Budget Decrease Personnel Changes

·       1.0 FTE SHS Social Studies Teacher (CERTIFIED TEACHING)

·       1.0 FTE SHS Science Teacher (CERTIFIED TEACHING)

·       1.0 FTE SHS CTE Teacher (CERTIFIED TEACHING)

·       1.0 FTE SHS World Language Teacher (CERTIFIED TEACHING)

·       1.0 FTE AWS Classroom Teacher (CERTIFIED TEACHING)

Budget Increase Personnel Changes

·       1.0 FTE SHS Special Education Teacher – Agriscience Program (CERTIFIED TEACHING)

·       1.0 FTE MIS Reading Interventionist (CERTIFIED TEACHING)

·       2.0 FTE SMS Academic Support (NON-CERTIFIED)

·       0.5 FTE Human Resource and Finance Assistant (NON-CERTIFIED)

·       0.2 FTE Physical Therapist (NON-CERTIFIED)

Budget Neutral Personnel Changes

·       1.0 FTE Van Driver (NON-CERTIFIED)

·       1.0 FTE Athletic Trainer (NON-CERTIFIED)

Budget Book

With this transmittal, you are receiving a formal budget book. The purpose in creating this budget book is to provide an organized, transparent and comprehensive resource to Board of Education members about our current and projected revenues and expenses. Further, the budget book will serve as an accurate point of reference regarding our current spending projections. The format provides the answers to many questions that Board members may have or receive from community members seeking greater clarity around our fixed and variable operating expenditures.

In preparing this book, school and district leadership spent months reviewing our current programs and services with district staff. To arrive at the next year’s proposed increase has been a lengthy and detail-oriented process. Both formal and informal discussions have been occurring at all levels, which gives me great confidence that the request is in alignment with the needs of the district. Please take the next several weeks to review the information in this book and note any questions you may wish to present during our January workshops.

In conclusion, as we enter into another collaborative budget cycle, I would like to begin by thanking the entire Board of Education for the many hours you will devote to fulfilling our budget responsibilities. Additionally, I view the proposal you are receiving today as the beginning to a very collective, informative, and strategic planning process that will ensure our schools remain an attractive asset to our entire community.

Sincerely,
Matthew Dunbar

Budget Documents

Topics of Interest

Important Dates

  • Public Budget Hearing - To Be Determined
  • Town Meeting - To Be Determined

Please Note: These dates are subject to change. Official notices will be posted on the Town of Suffield website.