Winchester Public Schools seal
Winchester Public Schools seal

WINSTED — The superintendents of the Winchester School District and The Gilbert School have presented their proposed budgets for Fiscal 2021-2022.
Gilbert Superintendent Anthony Serio presented his proposed budget in late January, and it was subsequently approved by the W.L. Gilbert School Corporation at its regular meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 17.
The semi-private school handles the Winchester School District’s 7th through 12th-grade students.
School operations are handled by the William L. Gilbert Trust Corporation, which was formed in 1895 to manage the endowment left by William L. Gilbert to build The Gilbert School.
Meanwhile, Winchester’s Superintendent of Schools Melony Brady-Shanley presented the school district’s proposed budget to the Board of Education on Thursday, Feb. 18.
The board still needs to hold a meeting to discuss whether or not to approve Brady-Shanley’s proposed budget, and the meeting has not been scheduled as of press time.
Once approved by the Board of Education, both the school district’s and Gilbert’s proposed budgets will go up for review to the Board of Selectmen.
The selectmen ultimately decide upon whether to change the educational budgets or to leave it as proposed by both superintendents.
From there, usually, the educational budgets are part of the proposed town budget for the fiscal year that goes before residents at a town meeting and a subsequent budget referendum.
However, last year due to the Covid pandemic, the state allowed the Board of Selectmen to approve the proposed budget without a town meeting or referendum, marking possibly the first time in Winsted’s history that a budget was approved without any resident vote.
It is unknown whether or not there will be a town meeting and referendum for this year’s proposed budget.
Winchester School District’s budget
During her presentation on Feb. 18, Superintendent Brady-Shanley presented a proposed budget of $20,558,504 for Fiscal 2021-2022, a proposed increase of $596,818, 2.99 percent, from the previous fiscal year.
As presented, Brady-Shanley’s proposed budget includes a $409,339 increase in employee wages to $6,993,262, $286,055 increase in tuition to The Gilbert School to $7,345,297, a $95,280 increase in property services to $155,480, and an $58,700 increase in supplies to $133,200.
“This budget is a different one than what we have seen in the past,” Brady-Shanley said at the beginning of her presentation. “In the past, we have been able to bring in a flat budget. And as I have said for the past two years, leading up to this and knowing that we had a cliff coming, we were going to be facing some budgetary needs that the appropriated budget would typically handle.”
As Brady-Shanley has stated at previous meetings, at the end of the school year the school district will be leaving the Commissioner’s Network.
The funding from the state started in June 2015 after the state’s Department of Education put the school district under receivership.
The receivership, which included state oversight of the school district’s finances, programs, and operations, lasted until August 2017 when the town took back control of the school district.
Brady-Shanley previously stated that the school district will be losing $500,000 in funding due to the loss of the state Commissioner’s Network funding.
At her Feb. 18 presentation, Brady-Shanley pointed out that, over the course of the last three fiscal years, the school district’s budget has increased by a total of 1.22 percent.
“We cannot afford another year without an increase,” Brady-Shanley said. “We are facing nine straight years without a budgetary increase. We have hit that point where we can no longer sustain that.”
According to data from Brady-Shanley’s presentation, the district is projecting an enrollment of 962 students total for the next school year, an increase of two students from this current school year.
The projection includes 539 students from Pre-Kindergarten to 6th grade served by the school district, and 423 students from 7th grade to 12th grade enrolled at Gilbert.
Gilbert School proposed budget
Meanwhile, Gilbert School Superintendent Serio is proposing a budget of $7,843,928 for Fiscal 2021-2022, an increase of $162,240 from the previous fiscal year.
The proposed budget includes $7,345,297 in tuition from the Winchester School District, $347,306 from the school’s International Program, and $17,375 in tuition from Hartland.
However, the total projected budget for Fiscal 2021-2022 is $8,358,928.
The total projected budget is projected to be offset by a Covid reserve fund of $265,000, and potential budget reductions of $250,000, which leaves the total proposed budget at $7,843,928.
The total proposed budget includes an $284,751 increase in salaries to $5,003,565, an $116,041 increase in employee benefits to $1,396,852 due to an anticipated 7.5 percent increase in medical insurance costs, a $54,439 increase in information and communication general expenses to $620,408, and a $216,244 increase in facility improvements to $462,544.
Superintendent Serio noted that the increase in the facility improvements budget is due to recommendations from the school’s Building and Grounds subcommittee for various projects, including a roof replacement for the school’s auditorium, along with upgrades to the school’s phone system, security systems, and bleachers in the main gym.

To view the Winchester School District’s proposed budget in PDF format, click here.

To view The Gilbert School’s proposed budget in PDF format, click here.