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Fairfield School Budget Wins Parents' Approval

Eric Newman and Nancy Schutte exist at different ends of the Fairfield schools spectrum. Eric sends his kids to elementary school at North Stratfield. Nancy’s son is on the other side of town and at Fairfield Ludlowe High School. But both had much the same view of Superintendent Dr. David Title’s budget -- they wouldn’t change a thing, at least monetarily.

“I liked the way Dr. Title explained everything as far as his rationale on this budget,” Nancy says. “It seems very well thought out.”

Nancy did have one quibble, however. She wants her son to get as much sleep as he can. She opposes Title’s plan to roll back high school start times to 7:30 a.m. Though she sees the cost benefit ($500,000 saved in bus costs), she thinks the extra 10 minutes of sleep would benefit her son more.

“They worked very hard to get that time changed,” Nancy says. “So I’d hate to see it get put back for budget reasons.”

The Board of Education discussed the budget proposal for the second time Thursday night. Its members seemed to have the same reaction Eric and Nancy had. Though Title is proposing to increase his funding by 4.54 percent over this year, few board members proposed making a substantial cut during their discussion Thursday.

That’s not to say Title didn’t have some explaining to do. Board members asked for clarification on the finer points of the budget.

For example, Tim Kery asked why the technology department wanted to replace 464 computers. Nancy Nash from the district’s IT department explained that those computers were between six and eight years old, and that 325 units the same age were not included in the budget. Eric agreed after the meeting that technology should be revamped, and even pushed further.

“In the audit, they [recommended] Kindles,” Eric says. “I think backpacks are extremely heavy, and could stand to be lighter.”

The school board will hear more input from the public on Tuesday before giving its final approval. After that, the budget heads to the Board of Finance and the Representative Town Meeting for further review.

What do you think of the budget overall? Sound off in the comments below. Have any questions about the process you’d like answered? Send them to .

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