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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.

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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