The Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday night to back a more than $75.5 million spending plan for the 2020-2021 school year.
The proposal is a 2.93 percent increase over current spending and is $800,000 less than School Superintendent Jeffrey F. Solan’s budget request of more than $76.33 million, a 4.05 percent increase.
With members of the Cheshire Blades girls’ hockey team present for the vote, the proposed budget promises $12,600 in funding for the team next year.
The amount won’t cover the cost of transportation, a figure school officials promised to analyze this spring once the school budget is finalized.
Board member Andrew Martelli, who proposed the revision after previous revisions suggested by board colleagues failed, noted that the spending plan would maintain current district staffing levels and restore the addition of a part-time board-certified behavior analyst special education position.
The revision also maintains a $350,000 contribution to the trust fund for medical expenses under the district’s self-insured medical plan.
“My proposal is a little more in the middle,” Martelli said, in reference to the proposal that had been recommended by the finance committee, which was more than $1 million less than Solan’s proposed budget.
Board colleague Adam Grippo, who had backed the finance committee budget, said he found Martelli’s amendment “reasonable.”
Prior to the board’s discussions and votes along party lines on the subsequent motions, members of the Blades hockey team stated their case for funding that is at least equal to the Cheshire High School boys’ ice hockey team.
“...The current system tells us that we are not valued as athletes because we are girls,” said Nadia DiNatale, a senior, with fellow team members standing around her. “We ask you to acknowledge that the time has come for change. We ask that you approve the superintendent’s recommendation that the Town of Cheshire recognize and fund girls ice hockey.”