BY RUTH EPSTEIN
CANAAN — With another large assessment looming for the town in the proposed 2014-15 Region 1 Board of Education budget, local school board members expressed the need to let the state know that help is needed to curb the rising costs.
During its meeting last week, the North Canaan Board of Education heard from Ned Gow, its representative to the Region 1 board, that the preliminary figures show an increase of $460,000 for the town’s share. This comes on top of a $300,000 rise in the current plan. The proposed total for Canaan is $4,641,430 out of a total $15,592,880, which reflects a 7.98 percent increase. Gow said the town’s percentage is rising from 30 to 32.3 percent of the total, but also the overall budget is higher.
When he pointed out that the town’s share of the state Educational Cost Sharing (ECS) grant is more than other towns, member Karen Riccardelli noted while that’s true, their revenues from the grant have remained stagnant as their percentage of the costs has increased over time. She said she is sure the high school is as important to the other five towns in the region as it is to Canaan and all have an interest in making sure it’s affordable. She suggested as a group they go out to Hartford to express their concerns.
She suggested that before the costs become too much of a burden to Canaan the town should request the state either increase its share of the ECS grant or allow it to be more flexible and do what it thinks necessary to keep the school affordable.
Gow said he’d be looking at where cuts can be made without hurting the students.
But Riccardelli, noting that if the current proposal goes through, the town would have a $760,000 increase over two years