Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Middletown school officials unhappy with $2.1 million budget cut

It will be interesting to see what action the school board takes when it votes on the adoption of the new school budget on May 26th. Will they accept the recommendations made by Gerry Scharfenberger and the Township Committee or will they look at other areas in the budget to cut the $2.1M from? Either way the prospects don't sound good for the school system.

From the Asbury Park Press -

MIDDLETOWN — Eliminating vice principal positions would jeopardize safety and the ability to implement state mandates, Schools Superintendent Karen Bilbao said she told township officials recently as they discussed prospective cuts to the district's tax levy.

The Township Committee recommended eliminating two vice principal positions as part of its order Monday to cut nearly $2.1 million from a proposed $123.8 million tax levy that voters rejected last month.

Other recommended cuts are the jobs of one of the district's two assistant business administrators, a night foreman and a public relations official.

The committee voted 4-0 Monday night to order the tax levy cut. Township Committeewoman Pamela Brightbill was absent.

Under the reduction, school property taxes would increase by 1.7 percent instead of 3.9 percent, Township Administrator Anthony Mercantante said. The school tax rate would increase by 2.3 cents instead of 4.2 cents per $100 of assessed value, he said.

"This is really going to impact the quality of education in the district," Board of Education Vice President Dan Skelton said Tuesday. "I don't know how we are going to continue."

The final cuts contained several suggestions made by the district, Bilbao said, including an $803,878 adjustment to the health insurance plan appropriation, a savings of $465,829 by refinancing a bond and a $150,000 reduction in nursing services costs.

But the suggested administrative salary cuts — a vice principal from each high school at a savings of $130,000 annually each, a $126,000-a-year director position and a $91,000-a-year assistant business administrator position — came as a surprise to her, Bilbao said.

High School North has six assistant principals and a principal while High School South has five assistant principals and a principal. During the 2007-08 school year, High School North had 1,651 students while High School South had 1,451 students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics website.

Appeal not likely

The board will meet in a special closed session later this week to discuss the additional cuts, said Bilbao, who anticipates a vote on the final budget during a May 26 meeting.

Barring a successful appeal to the Monmouth County schools superintendent, the school board must cut the amount the governing body ordered, but does not have to follow the committee's recommendations on how to do so.

Skelton does not anticipate the district will attempt to appeal.

"I don't know if this is the type of political climate where you can appeal," Skelton said.

The committee initially was set to cut about $1.6 million, but decided to continue chopping after it received hundreds of e-mails from residents upset about their taxes, Mayor Gerard P. Scharfenberger said.

"There are going to be a lot of people complaining that we did not cut enough," Scharfenberger said.


Anonymous said...

I am so tired of all of these things about the teachers. all they do is get get get.

The Superintendent of schools make more than the governer of the state of NJ. thta is crazy. the high schools have more than two assistant princapals, that is nuts!!! how much work can each one possibly do all day. and the taxpayers have to deal with this. i am glad that Scharfenberger is putting his foot down and standing by the taxpayers. THANK YOU SCHARFENBERGER AND GOP!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, that is a common point of view. “There are too many administrators”, that is the new mantra being repeated by the citizens of Middletown. I hear it everywhere, from all types of people with one exception. People who actually know what administrators do, how important they are to the education of our children and how hard they work. I’ll be kind and just say that the people who think that there are too many administrators in Middletown are either ill informed or uniformed.

“When I went to school we had one principal and one assistant principal” is something else I hear. You know what else you had? Thirty year old textbooks and carburetors in your car. Who do you think is responsible for making sure that our students are keeping our students curriculum current? Assistant principals. Who was responsible for this 30 years ago? Apparently no one.

Superintendents are paid according to the law of supply and demand. Governors are not. Christie will make more on his first book deal than most superintendents could make in ten years. He has already made it clear that New Jersey is not a good place to pursue a teaching career, he is about to make the same thing true for administrators. He will be limiting the amount of compensation that superintendents can receive. He is changing the pension formula so that it is calculated on the last five years of employment instead of the current three years. This will encourage eligible teachers to retire before the law takes effect, saving school districts money now. But the long term effect will be that the highest paid teachers will remain on the job an additional two years in the future, costing districts and the state much more. It is a short-sighted policy.

Anonymous said...

This mayor has not got a clue about how to manage money.It's all about politics.

Green five new trucks with plows and lay off 40 employees???

This is a demonstration of the financial responsibility of this man and are we going to let him dictate to the BOE ???.

God help the youth of Middletown!!