In a unanimous vote, the Board of Education has approved a revised 2020-21 operating proposed budget of $103,521,534, which represents a 3.4 percent increase from the current year’s budget.

In regard to the proposed 2021 capital budget, the priority one projects (which are the most needed projects) stay at $1,380,868. All voted in favor.

Substantial approved budget items

 Administration consultant fee of $25,000 for transportation

 Tech ed supplies, $63,116

 Special education for contracted speech, $54,400

 A $20,000 cut across substitute teacher lines.

This was initially put up as a $50,000 cut.

Schools Superintendent Alan Addley said the $20,000 figure came from an analysis of the number of personal days he has seen employees have taken.

Addley further said the administration ideally would like to not make any reduction here.

“If we had to make a cut, the most I would say is about $20,000. Ideally, I would say no cut,” he said.

Noted budget rejections

There was a lengthy conversation in regard to the motion for the addition of $88,452 for regular pupil transportation. This motion, which failed by one vote — four were in favor and five were against — involved adding a bus for 25 students.

The Board of Education is waiting to hear from the Darien Police Department, which is now assessing the student safety concerns that were recently brought up by parents at a prior Board of Education meeting.

Addley said if police come back and tell him that the current situation is not a safe one, he will address the issue immediately, for the current school year.

In regard to the capital projects budget, there was a proposal to increase this budget by $550,000 for the addition of two tennis courts at Darien High School. This motion failed.

There are currently five tennis courts at the high school.

Michael Lynch, director of facilities, said the school would be looking to use the same engineer that’s worked at the high school site since the building was developed in 2003 and 2004.

“He’s done all the field work on field renovations, Lynch said. “He did all the engineering work on the new high school.”

Lynch added there appears to be room on the high school property on the northwest corner without interfering with the cross country track.

“By going from five to seven courts, it shortens the time the high school team spends in practice and also allows them to host an FCIAC and state matches, which we don’t have the ability to do now,” Lynch added.

sfox@darientimes.com