New Canaan Schools Aim To Keep Saxe Study In Budget

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The New Canaan Board of Education hopes to keep money for a Saxe Middle School auditorium study in its 2013-14 budget. Photo Credit: File

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – The New Canaan Board of Education hopes the Board of Finance will look more favorably on a project to determine how much work is needed to fix the Saxe Middle School auditorium.

School board members will meet with the finance board and the New Canaan Town Council at 6:30 p.m. Thursday to review the school district's $78.79 million proposed 2013-14 budget. 

In reviewing the proposal two weeks ago, the Board of Selectmen recommended removing $999,000 in capital project funding from the school budget request, including $175,000 to pay for a study of the Saxe auditorium repairs. 

The town’s top board determined that renovating New Canaan Town Hall and improving the municipal parking lot on Locust Avenue are bigger priorities for the town over the next five years, said First Selectman Robert Mallozzi III, who also chairs the Board of Finance. The auditorium fix could cost about $3 million, Mallozzi said.

“We understand it, but it isn’t the main priority,” he said, noting that schools officials listed the auditorium study below other capital projects. “I don’t think the public is interested right now in spending money for a nice auditorium. And there’s so much we have to do.”

The Saxe auditorium needs to be repaired, school board Chairwoman Alison Bedula said. "We feel very strongly that we need to move forward on this,” Bedula said. “It’s a very old structure and (repairs) are inevitable. It has to happen.”

Mallozzi wants the town’s overall budget to come in no more than 3 percent higher than the current $125.5 million package approved last April. Town departments submitted budget requests that would increase the budget by nearly 9 percent. The finance board is talking with town departments and reviewing recommendations from the Board of Selectmen.

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