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Spending Plan That Would Raise Taxes By $250 Given Preliminary Approval By School Board

Board President Donald Pavlak Jr.: 'There's no way I'm supporting that number for the final budget.'

The approved a preliminary $129.8 million tax levy at its meeting Thursday night, a 3.8 percent increase from the $124.9 million levy last year.

As it currently exists, the tax levy would raise the average homeowner’s school taxes by  $250, or 4.5 percent.

Board President Donald Pavlak Jr. expressed his displeasure with the proposed increase.

“We’re going to get that number down,” Pavlak said. “There is no way I’m supporting that number for the final budget.”

Pavlak said the Board will have to cut more from the tax levy if it is to come under the state-mandated 2 percent cap on publically-funded budgets. Residents , unless it increases more than the cap, the result of a new law that allows the change to be implemented and moves the Board’s annual election to November.

As it is currently constituted, the district’s 2012-2013 total operating budget is $139.6 million, up from $132.5 from last year, a 7.1 percent increase.

The budget includes $1.3 million in banked cap funds, which were held over from last year. The money will be used to maintain class sizes.

The budget is not final; changes can, and will, be made to it between now and the 29th, Pavlak said. The Board had to approve the budget Thursday because the Passaic County Superintendent of Education needs to receive it by Friday.

“I want to make that clear to everybody, this [budget] is preliminary, this is not the final product,” Pavlak said.

Officials said that the district could spend approximately $85 million on salaries and $22 million on employee benefits next year.

Officials are already anticipating nearly $1.5 million in reductions, including eliminating four paraprofessional positions. The amount also takes into account $682,000 in breakage due to staff members retiring. Breakage is amount a district saves when a teacher retires and another is hired at a lower salary to replace that person.

Superintendent Ray Gonzalez gave a presentation on the preliminary budget at the meeting. (A copy of the presentation has been attached to this article and is also available on the district’s Web site.)

The district’s enrollment is estimated to increase slightly next year to 8,630 from 8,557 students this year; that amount includes 1,324 special education students, up 22 from this year.

Two public hearings on the budget will be held this month: March 6 at , and March 20 at ; both meetings start at 7 p.m. The public will have the opportunity to ask officials questions at those meetings.

Justice March 02, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Other towns do not have this problem with their BOE.( No, I will not be pushed out, so please save those comments.) I just read that West Milford is keeping the elections separate in order to give the taxpayers the ability to make their decisions. In my opinion, this town's BOE problems (along with other problems) stem from the fact that its' members are appointed and then transfer to the town Council. Hence, when the taxpayers decline a budget; the Council overrules. Time to vote out all incumbents. The Republican Party in Wayne does not exemplify the values of the GOP.
Scondo March 02, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Pull the knife from the drawer and pare that down to the cap, anyway you have to. You may not under any circumstances justify a tax increase in these times. Do what you have to.
Jessica Brody March 02, 2012 at 03:48 PM
Posting a preliminary budget 3x's above the 2% cap shows the true arrogance of this board. 17% of the entire budget is about your students education, the other 83% is what it will cost you to get to that point. Lining the pockets over an over-staffed and over-inflated administration are the lessons that parents are still learning while the children continue to graduate unprepared for the next level.
Wayne Parent March 02, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Focus your anger at Trenton. Wayne is the largest non-urban district in NJ. We have to basically foot the entire bill ourselves (they dont give a township our size a small fraction of our budget). I agree that savings can be found. But the biggest driver here is not the BOE, it is Trenton. At the end of the day, Wayne's cost per pupil is below the state average. It isnt like we are giving the kids caviar and gold plated computers. Our taxes are high because to keep up with the state average...we have to do it all on our own.
Steven Rose March 02, 2012 at 09:09 PM
And it states it includes $1.3 in banked funds...so really add that in too. It's a BIG increase. I'm for education however where does it end? Cost of Living doesn't increase that much, and for the seniors, until this year they went without an increase for 2 years..
Pad March 02, 2012 at 10:37 PM
This budget is outrageous. The Super.has already brought in a friend and paying her a six figure salary and she is also from that losing school district of Paterson. This is causing people to move out. Not many average homes here, so most taxpayers will pay more then $250.00. Wayne is heavy with six figure salaries esp in administration. There are over 300 homes in foreclosure and enrollment is down. The have to make cuts like everyone else. Why do you think they jumped on the November BOE vote so fast? Because it took your right to vote on the school budget. This budget would never pass if it was voted on. Very Democratic of them to do this. The BOE makes the Robber Barons of the past look like petty thieves. 107 million for salaries & benefits? They have to start at 2% and cut. Wayne parent listen up, Alot of fluff in the district. Bloated salaries of top heavy administrators, unneeded positions.The members use the BOE as a political stepping stone into politics. Almost all of the Council & the Mayor came from the BOE. Open your eyes, if it comes from the State or our Town tax money its still from the taxpayers. Check out the salaries being paid and the number of administrators we have. They cut one position and add two new ones. Look at what was paid to the last to bums we got rid of and it will happen with the two new ones soon enough. They know where to come to fill their pockets. The best part is they both come from the worse district in the State.
Concerned Independent March 02, 2012 at 11:11 PM
Interestingly, we just received $3.8 million in state aid, up by 32% from last year. However, 3.3 million is for special education and the remainder appears to be for transportation. I have heard through the grapevine that the administration realized that they can take on special education students from outside surrounding districts and be paid per student. I heard this is why all that aid is going to special education. It's profitable.
Pad March 03, 2012 at 03:24 AM
So profitable then why are our taxes going up so much. We don't need these outside students. When the money dries up we are stuck with them. Let each district take care of their own students. This will mean more teachers, counselors, program administrators etc etc. Also our school bus program would probably be alot less if we contracted it out to a private company. Lets look for ways to save money not spend more.
Justice March 03, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Children are sometimes mis-labeled as a special education student (especially if they are borderline) in order to get this funding. Unfortunately, these same students do not have the same criteria to meet for certain grades. There was a student who actually received a full scholarship because of her grades, even though she was classified as special ed. My children have student loans galore because they couldn't get full scholarship aid. We are straight. The system is played and the teacher's know how to play it best. This student is the daughter of a teacher and superintendent of schools; therefore, the scholarship was not based on need. The grades were bent in favor of this student. I remember the mother (a teacher) always in everyone's face. They got away with it. Our tax dollars at work.
Jessica Brody March 04, 2012 at 03:15 AM
My son was classified ADHD in town several years ago. They recommended test after test after specialst after more tests, finally I took him to out of Terhune school and began home-schooling. At first it was very trying, and seemed almost impossible. Over the next couple of years we joined two home-schooling groups and I have to say that's when things really started to go well. He never returned to public school, and this past fall he entered college ( University of Wisconsin ). By the way, in 2010 it was determined he did not have ADHD at all. The doctors concluded that he may suffered from being over-tested. Currently my 2 younger children are being home-schooled. Public school has entirely to much testing, and none of it proves anything. There's not a single parent that knows exactly what they're child is doing in school until a week or two later. Instead of installing the correct teacher/student portal, they use methods from the 1960's by mailing home worthless mail, requesting parent meetings with their own "in house" specialists, and make determinations based on guidelines. More than half of the students Wayne schools has labeled with ADHD do not have it,and It's probably more than half. The students are bored, and tired of being tested. That's they're only "real" problem. When you stop testing them, the problem goes away.
Taxpayer March 04, 2012 at 12:57 PM
test
Taxpayer March 04, 2012 at 01:03 PM
My company has stopped giving a raise for more than three years now. But my taxes have been increased more and more every year. Will this BOE ever satisfied with certain amount of taxes? When will this BOE stop thinking more taxes are better for education? As a taxpayer, I will say more taxes will bring more corruption!
Justice March 04, 2012 at 01:05 PM
Jessica, you are a brave parent to have listened to your heart and home schooled your children. They will become healthy members of a better society. I agree with you regarding the unnecessary testing. It is just a defense technique to bring up in case of problems or lawsuits. The worst part of it all is the medications that the children are given unnecessarily.
Justice March 04, 2012 at 01:10 PM
This brings up another point. What is the amount of our tax dollars that is going to this testing? From what I understand, these tests are extremely expensive and subjective. What is the purpose of the testing, surely not to help the students; but to help someone's self-interest and pocketbook? How many students have been incorrectly classified as SPEDS in order to line someone's bank account? This BOE has been unaccountable for too long. There is no transparency. They are akin to drunken sailors on leave (no insult to the military intended). STOP THE SPENDING. WE ARE BEING CHOCKED.
Al Scala March 04, 2012 at 01:49 PM
This BOE must go!
Lenore Caccavella Wolke March 04, 2012 at 02:45 PM
As the saying goes, "It is very easy to spend other people's money." The BOE should determine the budget as if was their own household budgets. Everyone has a limit on what they bring in and what they payout. It is so easy to pick another person's pocket. I worked for corporations all my life and knew how the system worked. New corporate cars, business trips etc. were all coming out of the company, yet they kept their own personal budgets like finely tuned violins. Every governing board needs to treat every expenditure as if it were coming out of thei own pocket.
Justice March 04, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Ditto, this BOE MUST GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Al Scala March 04, 2012 at 04:26 PM
This is public money! This money comes out of our already taxed dollars. (State & Federal) They have a fiducciary(sp) responsibility to spend OUR MONEY responsibly. Budgets should be prudent. We are in some very difficult economic times..I believe many people have cut back on many things. It surely doesn't look like these people are cutting back. Education is crucial to our children. However small steps at times in an economic sense may be more prudent than trying to get everything in all at once. It should be interesting to look at this proposed budget and see what's in it. Frankly, I'm not happy over the fact that we appointed an Ass't Super. We've gotten along without one for about 4 or 5 years now. Just imagine, I think at one time we had 2 Ass't Supers. Secondly, maybe installing guidance counselors in the elementary schools is not a luxury we can afford. If you're going to spend the money, spend it on a full day kindergarten which I think is more important at this time. It's our money. Treat it as such!
Justice March 04, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Al, can we sue the BOE for negligence of their fiduciary responsibilities? I am not a fan of suits, but sometimes, it is the only way these entities will listen.
Amanda Molnar March 04, 2012 at 08:57 PM
I'm sorry for your feeling of betrayal by the Wayne Public Schools, but your child was not classified ADHD by anyone on the CST. A psychiatrist or neurologist must classify them accordingly and I doubt that any of them work for the district. Plus, you consented to all of the testing and could have stopped it at any time. The school can make recommendations, but the parent decides what will and won't take place. Children with ADHD generally either have to have a learning or emotional disability, in addition to the other diagnosis, in order to qualify. The child with ADHD might receive some accommodations under Section 504, but then the district receives no federal funding. Children who are classified cost the disrtrict extra money and it would not make sense for them to WANT to classify.
Amanda Molnar March 04, 2012 at 09:01 PM
It's called the law. I can guarantee that the township does not WANT to pay.
Justice March 04, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Amanda, please elaborate on which law you are referring to. There is federal, state, local, etc. Additionally, there are best practices for each industry. Finally, there may be recommendations by insurance companies regarding defensive loss control. It is difficult for someone not in the industry to understand all the complexities of what another industry has to deal with. As respects to the budget, obviously all the legal, insurance and statutory costs need to be met first. However, I cannot seem to find a detailed accounting of these costs. The BOE Budget has been written in such a manner that it is almost an insult to taxpayers. Perhaps, the auditors would be able to provide a better understanding of all the costs involved?
Al Scala March 04, 2012 at 11:49 PM
I sometimes wonder if these budgets are put together purposely in a confusing and convoluted manner. Honestly, I don't think they want us to understand it. I'm sick and tired about hearing them talk about transparency. It's insulting. They're as transparent as a black hole!
Justice March 05, 2012 at 12:23 AM
If someone gave me an expense account such as this Wayne BOE Budget to approve, I would decline, decline, decline. I want to see the IRS approve something like this. Who are the auditors? Why is that such a closely held secret? What else are they hiding?
JohnP March 05, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Should we cut teacher's benefits or pension? That is were all our money is going. A 2% increase ONLY PAYS FOR OUR TEACHER'S SALARY INCREASES. The BOE will still have to cut millions to get to a 2% increase.
Al Scala March 05, 2012 at 03:49 PM
JohnP....good question. I don't think the BOE can arbitrarily touch the benefits to our teachers as I believe this is negotiated and contractual. At the next bargaining concession they can try to do something. However in collective bargaining there is something called past practices which I think makes it difficult to take something away. I think the BOE should look at Nellis Drive and make a thorough review of all personnel there. We have some pretty high priced people there as well as other overhead costs. How about contracting our Janitorial services out? Have they ever looked at that?
Concerned Parent March 05, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Try looking at a private company to transport ou students. It has been proposed and it cost much more than we are paying now...Do you know how many students get transported in our district in a given Day??????
Justice March 06, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Competitive bids can be solicited for transportation and other outsourced services. The bids need to be truly competitive and not be someone's "friend". There has been enough favoritism, etc that have cost taxpayers.
Justice March 06, 2012 at 05:40 AM
As I was saying, teachers (Plus Administrators/etc) know their way around the system: Different district, different problem, but fraud none the less at TAXPAYER'S expense. Who knows what is lurking behind the Wayne BOE expenses that demands a budget that keeps skyrocketing?: From the Star Ledger "...Arrested were Marie L. Munn, 46, the president of the Elizabeth Board of Education; Angela Lucio 35, the ex-wife of school principal Carlos Lucio; and Peter W. Abitanto, 42, the husband of Marlene Abitanto, the district's supervisor of custodians. The three were charged with third-degree theft by deception and third-degree tampering with public records or information. If found guilty, they each face up to five years in prison, officials said. The arrests came less than a month after The Star-Ledger disclosed that Munn and others were all receiving meals for their kids through the National School Lunch Program — despite salaries far exceeding federal income-eligibility limits set by the federal government...." THINK ABOUT IT.
Justice March 06, 2012 at 05:44 AM
More Educator Fraud: State orders child agency to return $679,000 FRIDAY FEBRUARY 17, 2012, 11:48 PM BY HARVY LIPMAN STAFF WRITER THE RECORD PAGES: 1 2 > DISPLAY ON ONE PAGE | PRINT | E-MAIL The state wants a Paterson non-profit that oversees government-funded child care to repay nearly $700,000 spent on “disallowed” items — including $250,000 for a retirement nest egg for its former executive director. The state Department of Human Services says 4Cs of Passaic County wasn’t permitted to use state funds for Mary Ann Mirko’s deferred compensation account. As of late 2009, that account was valued at more than $850,000..."

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