Programs may be cut despite increase in Stamford school budget

Stamford students, staff and parents "walked in" to Davenport Ridge Elementary School and many other Stamford schools on Wednesday with a particular focus on saving the school's instrumental programs from potential budget cuts.
"It gives children whose strength lies in the arts the chance to shine at school. Parents here at Davenport, they're a little outraged," said Davenport Ridge parent Brooke Manewal.
Students carried instrument cases and picket signs touting their love for the music program, since this is the sole program proposed to be eliminated under the superintendent's pitch.
Other impacts include reduced security, limited high school electives and potential elimination of certain positions.
The current budget pitch is a 6.5% increase, but Stamford Public Schools says it would take a nearly 10% increase to maintain all programs.
The district says these cuts stem from a "devastating" $12.5 million reduction during the pandemic.
Officials say the federal relief funds that saved jobs and programs then expire at the school year's end.
Statements From Stamford Public Schools:
Statement regarding the Superintendent’s 2024-25 Proposed Operating Budget: Stamford City Boards made devastating reductions to the Stamford Public Schools budget in spring 2020 due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. Faced with layoffs, Stamford Public Schools used federal COVID relief funds to preserve critical programs, services and staff for the last three years. Those funds expire on June 30, creating a nearly $10 million deficit at a time when inflation, contractual wage increases, and increasing special education and transportation costs will make it impossible to maintain all current programs, services, and staff without sufficient funding. As always, we encourage all interested stakeholders to make their voices heard during the public hearings hosted by City Boards.
Statement regarding High School Schedule Proposal: Stamford Public Schools has tremendous respect for the teachers who go above and beyond for students every day. We understand that some Stamford Education Association members have concerns about proposed changes to high school teaching schedules. The SEA exercised its right to bargain on this issue on November 30, 2023, and all concerns raised by teachers about this proposal will be addressed in negotiations between the Stamford Board of Education and the SEA.