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Council, School Committee Begin FY 2015 Budget Talks

The projected budget for next year could be as much as $1.5 million higher than the current year's budget.

Credit: EG Patch
Credit: EG Patch
As required by state law, the Town Council and School Committee met briefly Monday night to initiate the budget process for Fiscal Year 2015 and exchange budget projections.

The fiscal year runs from July to June, so right now, the town is in the middle of FY 2014, which will end June 30.

The town submitted a $59.2 million total projected budget number for FY 2015, up $1.2 million from this year's budget. The revenue numbers exchanged are the worse-case scenario.

"What we had to exchange with the school is a four-year revenue estimate projection based on a 4 percent increase on the tax levy," said town Finance Director Kathy Raposa. State law limits to 4 percent any increase in a community's tax rate. 

So, barring some extraordinary expense cropping up, the budget for 2015 will be $59.2 million or less. 

The EG School Department's proposed budget number for 2015 is $35.6 million, up from the current year's $34.6 million. That increase comes directly from salaries for the 225 EGSD staff members ($750,000) and employee benefits ($250,000).

However, the EG teachers union and district are still negotiating the contract that expired Aug. 30. In the projected budget, the school department has the line item for teachers going from $16.1 million to $16.76 million, an increase of $660,000.

Councilman Mike Kiernan asked School Committee Chairman David Green about that during the only mildly contentious part of the meeting. 

"This is your estimate of what the next contract will be?" said Kiernan.

"I would prefer not to engage in discussions while we're in direct negotiations," said Green.

"But this is what you can afford?" pressed Kiernan.

"My experience is the number we put in is sufficient," replied Green.


James R December 13, 2013 at 07:01 AM
I understand it is early in the budget conversations-- I encourage EG residents to pay attention to and become engaged in this process. If left unchecked this budget (particularly the schools) will increase higher than CPI without demands for efficiencies that could lower the increases. The same can be said for the municipal operating budget. I do trust the council members, they are better than most in other towns- but we can't afford to have our taxes damage our house values and make us less desirable for businesses to relocate here. The usual, standards incremental approach to budgeting will not work anymore.
EG December 14, 2013 at 09:00 AM
The school committee needs to answer why Barrington offers more academic programs than East Greenwich with lower per student spending. According to US NEWS, Barrington is ranked number 2 in RI. East Greenwich is ranked number 3. EGHS is behind on college readiness score.

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