When rumors about a zero percent budget increase started making their way around Westport, many people were concerned—and with good reason. Since teacher salaries increase annually due to contractual obligations, a zero percent increase would mean other parts of the schools’ budget, such as technology costs, program costs, extracurricular activities, or even staff positions, would have to be cut.
With this in mind, Superintendent Elliott Landon’s proposed budget of 2.79 percent (or $2.86 million) is a fiscally responsible and necessary plan. As Landon noted in his introduction to this prospective budget, last year “non-certified employee jobs in all categories, from secretaries to paraprofessionals, were eliminated.”
The loss of such valuable staff members shows how detrimental cuts have been in previous years, and how devastating further cuts would be to the Westport Public Schools.
In his proposal, Landon included that the budget is “deserving of the Board of Education’s approval.” During tough financial times, this budget will maintain teacher positions and help to preserve the level of education in Westport.
Since salaries make up more than 66 percent of the schools’ budget, further cuts would almost certainly mean that teacher positions would be cut. This would most likely lead to larger class sizes, especially with increasing enrollment.
In future years, when hopefully more money can be allocated to the schools, the schools will be able to make significant investments in new technologies, equipment, and programs.
Yet for the time being, it is important to maintain the quality of education that exists in Westport and keep as many staff members as possible.