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MANCHESTER — Nine paraeducator positions to support a new team classroom approach, as well as increased staff wages and benefits, are in next year’s spending plan for the Taconic & Green Regional School District.

The Taconic & Green Regional School Board will meet at 6 p.m. on Tuesday to discuss the district’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2024. It will be the first of two meetings to iron out details before the January meeting, where the board will vote on the budget to be sent before the public in March.

Initial projections for the budget published in the board’s agenda packet are up 6 percent from the current year. Education spending is proposed to increase by 5 percent.

The biggest increases from the current budget are due to the increases in staff, wages and benefits. The new paraeducator positions are planned for the largest schools in the district.

These additions account for over $1.3 million of the increase to the budget that rose by almost $2.1 million. Several of these positions were previously taken care of with Elementary and Secondary School Education Relief (ESSER) funds, but will become a local responsibility again.

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The district is also budgeting, for the first time, for chargers and other infrastructure to support electric vehicles. The packet notes that the vehicles themselves will be largely grant-funded, but the infrastructure line item is $200,000.

Other noteworthy increases are seen in the budgeting for significant increases in prices of electricity and fuel. The school district is projecting a $25,000 increase in electricity costs (up 20 percent), a $69,000 increase in fuel oil/gas/pellets (54.7 percent) and a $30,000 bump for gasoline (75 percent).

The agenda notes that while food costs have gone up for the district, the costs have partially been offset by supply chain assistance funds. The district is not planning to receive them next year, and is waiting to compile a three-month sample of data from September through November before deciding if the food budget needs to be altered.

The budget also includes $60,000 for design services for the proposed new middle school, as well as $20,000 increases each for both instructional materials (up 19.3%) and classroom furniture and equipment (which doubled).

Tory Rich can be reached at trich@manchesterjournal.com

Follow him on Twitter: @ToryRich6


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