WAKEFIELD — Superintendent of Schools Dr. Stephen K. Zrike went before the school board last night and requested a budget increase of 11.39 percent for Fiscal Year 2016 which, in dollars and cents, translates to $34.8 million or a $3.5 million increase over current spending.

Over a 15-year period, the school budget has increased by about $12 million but in some years there has actually been a decrease in requests due to a tighter supply of money.

Broken down individually, district-wide programs would get $8,161,639, the high school $8,965,878, middle school $8,202,818, Dolbeare $3,596,751, Woodville $3,239,005, Greenwood $2,058,924, Walton $1,236,544 and Early Childhood Center $1,262,655.

The budget would be offset by grants of $989,236 and revolving account $957,895.

A public hearing where residents can provide input on the proposed budget will be held Tuesday, March 10. The school board will also review the proposed budget and vote on it at their meeting on Tuesday, March 24.

“The amount is a significant request,” said Zrike, “but one that is important for Wakefield schools.”

The “big rocks” driving the budget, said Zrike, are a full-day kindergarten request, a five-year curriculum adoption plan developed by former Curriculum Director Nancy Santapaola, technology, staffing and Special Education “right-sizing.”

Zrike further stated that the budget focuses on quality teaching (investing in and developing educators to provide students with powerful teaching and learning that prepare them for college, career and citizenship), rigorous curriculum (implementing consistent, standards-aligned curriculum supported by high quality instructional resources) and individualized student learning (ensuring that each student receives targeted, data-informed instruction, with appropriate social and emotional supports).

Wakefield’s schools superintendent also hopes the budget will include tuition-free, full-day kindergarten and rapidly rising SPED costs which, he said, have been underfunded in recent years.

“With the help of our new Director of SPED and Student Services Lyn O’Neil, Business Administrator Michael Pfifferling and Dr. Sandra Halloran, who has helped us with SPED budgeting, we have a much clearer picture of what the anticipated costs will be. We found a fairly sizable hole (in SPED) this year and we should not have to take resources from other areas to fund it.”

The FY’16 budget snapshot is as follows (percentages refer to the FY’16 increase):

• Full-day kindergarten salaries: $628,218 (2.012 percent)

• Contractual salary obligations: $1,176,875 (3.769 percent)

• Added/removed positions: $378,956 (1.213 percent)

• Clerical raises/retroactive: $38,582 (0.124 percent)

• Curriculum (Phase 1 of a five-year plan): $230,000 (0.737 percent)

• Instructional supplies: $16,125 (0.052 percent)

• Professional development: $9,925 (0.032 percent)

• Contracted services: $34,575 (0.111 percent)

• Technology (device replenishment): $87,550 (0.280 percent)

• Transportation (regular/homeless): $91,690 (0.294 percent)

• Utilities: $83,488 (0.267 percent)

• Maintenance: $39,909 (0.128 percent)

• Other: $50 (0.000 percent)

• SPED: $658,174 (2.108 percent)

• SPED out of district transportation: $47,240 (0.151 percent)

• SPEd other: $37,000 (0.118 percent)

In the “quality teaching” category, Zrike hopes to hire a district-wide math coach at a salary of $63,634 to support the roll-out of math curriculum adoption. Also, a teacher at the Galvin Middle School to accommodate enrollment increases ($56,290), additional professional development district-wide to support teachers attending professional development sessions out of district ($9,925) and an increase in the hourly rate paid to substitute teachers $70 per day.

Zrike commented that Wakefield currently pays substitute teachers $60 per day, a rate that is below average in comparison to other communities.

“We need to increase the rate to attract strong candidates,” he said.

In the category of “rigorous curriculum,” Zrike stated that curriculum adoption in grades kindergarten through grade 8 refers to the overhaul of the district’s math curriculum and the phonics program for children in kindergarten and grade 1.

Zrike is also asking for a part-time visual arts teacher at the high school level to align to MassCore curricular requirements for graduates to arrive at college or a workplace “ready.”

“Individualized student learning” would not only include full-day, tuition free kindergarten for all children, but a computer teacher at the high school to strengthen the district-wide STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) offerings, a part-time nurse for the high school and Galvin, a full-time adjustment counselor for the elementary schools, three counseling interns district-wide to address the growing mental health needs of students and extra-curricular stipends for girls’ freshman volleyball coach, junior varsity dance coach and a stipend for performing arts. This request, said Zrike, is in line with accommodating an increased demand for athletics and right-sizing performing arts stipends.

Special Education costs, in addition to the $658,174 listed above, would include $47,240 for transportation and $37,000 for contracted service costs.

Other requests are for a teacher specializing in students on the autism spectrum, plus three paraprofessionals, all at the Early Childhood Center ($110,191 from the revolving account), a part-time SPED teacher at the high school to meet Individual Education Plan requirements ($11,384), a part-time SPED teacher at the Woodville, also to meet IPE obligations in the behavioral program ($28,461) and a part-time speech and language pathologist at the high school to meet identified student needs ($11,384).

Other requests are for an increase in utility costs district-wide ($83,488), transportation for regular/homeless students ($91,690) and furniture replacement district-wide. This would be funded through building rental fees from the Lesley University partnership.

Five district-wide paraprofessional positions have been eliminated since they are no longer required by IEPs, resulting in a savings of $88,875.

Zrike also talked about programs and staff that available revenue cannot support, including:

• High school: Alternative school counselor, Steps2Success tutor, strength and conditioning coach, Tri-M Honor Society stipend and elimination of user fees.

• Galvin: Additional custodian, one grade 5 teacher and an extra-curricular coordinator

• Elementary schools: Additional interventionists, adjustment counselors, media center paraprofessionals and additional lunch monitors

District-wide program that cannot be supported with available revenue include:

• A custodial floater

• Data analyst

• Administrative assistant in central office

• SPED coordinator

• Math coaches at all elementary schools

• Curricular coordinators in grades 5 through 12 in each content area

• Full funding for technology replenishment

• Network engineer and technician

• Public relations and communications position

• Board certified behavior analyst

In his final comments about the FY’16 budget, Zrike said that the requested money is “inextricably linked” to district strategy and the the focus remains on children, core work of teaching and learning.

During his hour-long budget presentation, Zrike talked about “budget assumptions,” including Chapter 70 funding, and said that he will have more accurate projection by March 4. Other assumptions include grant funds, Circuit Breaker (SPED) funding, waivers, SPED stabilization, capital, student enrollment, pre-kindergarten fees, athletic and extra-curricular fees and building rental fees.

Current budget projections (for FY’15) suggest a May 2015 request of between $150,000 and $180,000 from the stabilization fund, which the town oversees. The plan is to request funds to replenish the account at Town Meeting in November.

Unknown variables include legislative additions or deletions, increases or decreases in federal state grants and costs related to SPED, utilities, custodial overtime for snow removal, substitute teachers and full-day kindergarten and pre-kindergarten predictions. The enrollment numbers for full-day kindergarten and pre-kindergarten are coming in now, said Zrike.

Current enrollment in the district’s schools — 3,423 students — is the highest in over a decade, Zrike commented. Enrollment in academic year 2014 was 3,363. The lowest enrollment was in 2011 at 3,310 students.

“I’ve had extensive discussions with Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio and town officials concerning the budget,” said Zrike. “There will be fiscal restraint in the years to come.”

He said there is a need to continue examining operational and program inefficiencies. Zrike’s next step is to do a “road show” to share the proposed budget with staff.

As of today, the new budget is posted online at www..

As previously noted, a public hearing concerning budget requests will be held during the regularly scheduled school board meeting on Tuesday, March 10, at the WCAT studio on Hemlock Road. The public is invited to give their input on school and student needs.

The school board will then take a vote on Tuesday, March 24, and the voted budget will be sent to Town Hall and the Selectmen’s office on Wednesday, March 25, for a vote.

At a date to be determined in April the Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee will review the budget for a vote and it will then be presented and voted on at Town Meeting Monday, May 4.