Although it was not obligated to do so, Litchfield's Board of Education took a substantial bite out of its proposed budget for 2013-14 on Thursday.
The board cut $286,598 from the budget of $16,113,343 and is left with a spending plan of $15,826,545 that shows an increase of spending of $174,795, or 1.12 percent, over the current budget of $15,651,750.
The reduction came after the Board of Finance on Monday requested a cut that would bring the proposed's budget's increase down to 0.95 percent. That would have required a cut of about $313,000. School board members considered meeting the request before settling on the cut that was made.
The reduction was passed by a 5-4 vote, with the board's five Republicans supporting it and the four Democrats opposed. Among the cuts were a first-grade teaching position and a world language teaching position shared by the intermediate school and high school.
There was serious debate over the fate of the world language teaching position. Democrats said it is too valuable of a position to lose, while Republicans said its loss wouldn't be a big deal.
Gayle Carr, a Democrat, suggested that $74,000 budgeted for the leasing of new laptop computers for high school students could be cut instead of the world language teaching position. Republicans, however, said too much work has been put into a technology plan the laptops are part of and cutting the leasing fee would not make sense.