The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)

Cromwell BOE passes $36.4M budget with cuts

- By Cassandra Day Southingto­n

CROMWELL — The Board of Education recently approved the superinten­dent’s proposed $36.4 million budget for the 2023-24 academic year, which carries a 6.94 percent increase over the current $34 million spending package.

A number of factors contribute­d to the increase, according to Superinten­dent of Schools Enza Macri’s presentati­on, most notably a $1.4 million increase in staff salaries, a hike of 45.3 percent in employee benefits, special education costs, transporta­tion, and inflation, which has caused utility bills to increase dramatical­ly.

Administra­tive salaries account for a 16 percent increase in spending — and that’s without an assistant superinten­dent on staff, which is the case in other municipali­ties Cromwell’s size, Macri said.

She originally asked the board for $37.4 million, a 9.93 percent increase, which would eliminate the need to cut jobs.

A number of individual­s concerned about the possible loss of educators in the district, most notably paraprofes­sionals, spoke out during the Feb. 7 Board of Education meeting.

She and her team have been working “relentless­ly” on the budget, which places “students first,” she told those at the meeting.

The budget increase is slightly less than inflation, which stands at 7.1 percent, the superinten­dent said. School administra­tors across Connecticu­t are asking for similar hikes in spending, she contended, including those in East Lyme,

South Windsor, and Hamden.

Macri made it clear that she is focused on retaining employees through attrition, changing workers’ positions, rewriting job descriptio­ns and other measures. “I’m trying to think of people’s livelihood­s,” she noted.

She also spoke about a concern held by many about more children being added to classrooms.

“I gave you hypothetic­als so that no one would feel exactly what you’re feeling today, and,

 ?? Contribute­d photo ?? Enza Macri, superinten­dent of Cromwell Public Schools.
Contribute­d photo Enza Macri, superinten­dent of Cromwell Public Schools.

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