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South Windsor Town Council Creates Non-Lapsing Account for School District

Account will hopefully help mitigate spikes in the special education budget.

The South Windsor Town Council on Monday unanimously established for the Board of Education a non-lapsing account that is designed to help with budgeting for special education.

In the past, school districts by law were not permitted to have accounts that rolled over from one year to the next.

But a change in state law allows school boards to have non-lapsing accounts, capped at 1 percent of its operating budget.

Though the statute is silent as to what purposes for which the account can be used, the resolution passed by the council specifically sets aside any funds deposited in the account for special education.

School board Chairman David Joy said that special needs education, which accounts for about 20 percent of school spending in town, is the most volatile line item in the district’s budget because it is impossible to predict how many special needs students will move into South Windsor from year to year.

Indeed, this year the school board is running a $610,900 deficit in its special education budget, as spiraling costs have led to outplacements running into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kate Carter said at the school board’s meeting on Tuesday that, given the challenges of this year’s and next year’s budget, it may be a long time before any money is deposited in the account.

However, Carter expressed her gratitude in having the account set up.

“The wisdom of the Town Council and the Board of Education [in creating the account] cannot be overstated,” Carter said.

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