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Our Budget, Our Values

April 6, 2023
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Our Budget, Our Values

A budget is an essential guide for responsible planning and accountability.  It is equally important as a statement of our community’s values.  In Woodbridge we value education.  It is what brought many of us to this wonderful Town and continues to attract new families.  In many ways, education is the economic engine of our community.

On Monday, April 24 at 7:30pm in the Amity High School Auditorium, the Town of Woodbridge will conduct its annual Preliminary Budget Hearing.  The Board of Finance will present its recommended budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2023.  Community members will have the opportunity to ask questions about the priorities for our Town over the coming year.

In the proposed 2023-2024 budget totaling $56M, our schools account for close to two-thirds of spending.  This is almost evenly divided between Beecher Road School ($17M) and the Amity School District ($18M).  You can view the Board of Finance’s recommended budget at https://www.woodbridgect.org/428/Annual-Budgets.

For those of you who are new to Town or simply unfamiliar with the process, there are important distinctions between how the Beecher Road School budget is set and how the Amity School District budget is set.  The Beecher budget is submitted by the Woodbridge Board of Education to the Town Board of Finance.  It is within the purview of the Board of Finance to adjust the budget as submitted.

By comparison, the Amity budget is recommended by the Amity Board of Education and is voted upon at a referendum of voters in the towns of Woodbridge, Orange and Bethany.  Our Board of Finance does not have the authority to change the Amity School District Budget.

The Amity School District budget referendum will be held on Tuesday, May 2 from 6:00 am – 8:00 pm in the Center Building Gym.  It is important to vote in this referendum and make your voice heard.  If you need an absentee ballot, contact the Town Clerk’s office at 203-389-3422.

But why am I choosing to focus so much attention on education in this month’s column?  Because, like many of you, I believe that educating our children is a fundamental role of government and essential to the proper functioning of our democracy.  Citizens must be educated in order to participate effectively in our civic life and exercise their right to vote in a meaningful way.  Thus, the benefits of supporting our schools flow to all of us.

As Woodbridge becomes increasingly diverse, our schools also provide a safe space and essential resources to promote understanding and inclusion.  At Amity, the Board of Education, as well as a DEI Coach, strive to ensure that Amity “nurtures a community of learners who embrace individual and cultural differences, valuing how differences enrich society.”

Since 2017, Beecher Road School has had a Community and Diversity Committee made up of parents, staff and members of the administration.  The goal of the Committee is to support the mission of Beecher, a mission that includes “embracing diversity.”  Beecher’s commitment in this regard has manifested itself in many ways, including the Woodbridge Board of Education’s 2022 adoption of a formal Equity and Diversity policy to guide the school district.

For Woodbridge residents interested in learning more about our increasingly diverse community, the Town’s Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will host a community conversation on Wednesday, April 26 at 7:00 pm at the JCC, 360 Amity Road.  Everyone is invited to learn about findings from the recent “Experiencing Woodbridge Survey” and consider how we can nurture connections across our diverse community.

And finally, a big shout out from the Woodbridge Democratic Town Committee to the Amity Regional High School Debate Team as it advances in the International Public Policy Forum Debate Competition!!!  Kudos to these young people who have learned to love learning and to the teachers who helped them get there.

If you are interested in learning more about the Woodbridge Democratic Town Committee, please get in touch with us by emailing us at:  communications@woodbridgedems.org or visit our website: http://www.woodbridgedems.org.

<span class="fineprint">This is an opinion not necessarily endorsed by the Woodbridge Town News.</span>

This is an opinion not necessarily endorsed by the Woodbridge Town News.

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