Board Proposes 4.5% School Tax Increase

Average homeowner would pay $251 more if budget is approved.

The discussed adopting a $138.6 million preliminary budget at a special meeting Monday night, including a $129.7 million tax levy that would raise taxes by about $250.

As the budget is currently constituted, the average household would pay a 4.5 percent increase from last year.

The budget is still a work in progress. The Board will adopt the preliminary budget on Thursday, March 1. After that time, the district’s finance committee will meet and two public input sessions will be held to finalize details in order to reduce the budget below the state-mandated 2 percent increase cap. The final budget will be adopted at a special public budget hearing March 29.

Superintendent Ray Gonzalez spoke about the district’s proposed goals for the 2012-2013 school year that district officials will use a guide to help them formulate a budget.

  • Improve student performance for all students through an intense focus on enhancing the teaching and instructional experience throughout the district.
  • Improve communications among all members of the district, including parents, in order to share important information about the district in a way that is timely, meaningful, and responsive to the needs of the community.
  • Effectively and efficiently use district resources to provide safe, healthy, and supportive environments that support educational initiatives and provide accountability for outcomes.
  • Increase the use of technology for the purpose of improving the effectiveness and efficiency of achieving all other district goals.

Gonzalez discussed nearly $838,000 in proposed improvements, including elevating the guidance counselors at the elementary schools to full-time employees at a cost of $252,000, $34,000 for the fifth-grade social studies curriculum, and $25,000 for a new presentation system in the Wayne Hills High School auditorium.

More than $1.5 million in reductions, including $682,000 in anticipate breakage from staff retirements, and four paraprofessionals at a cost of $90,000, was mentioned. Breakage is the amount saved when veteran teachers retire from a district and new ones, who are paid less in salary, are hired to replace them.

The district is expected to receive $3.8 million in state aid for the upcoming school year, a 32 percent increase from last year’s amount of nearly $2.9 million.

The two public hearings on the budget will take place in March: one will be March 6 at , the second will be March 20 at ; both meetings start at 7 p.m. Officials will take questions from the public at those meetings.

Justice March 01, 2012 at 03:17 PM
@Wayne Parent, I would really like to see those credentials which you profess to have. Your tone is not that of a professional. As respects to the statistics, look them up yourself. You have all this knowledge of the poor underpaid teachers, who only work 180 days a year from about 7am to 4pm with extra money for any extra curricular activities. Yes they are poor...poor examples of the work ethic for the students. Take your nonsense elsewhere.
Justice March 01, 2012 at 03:24 PM
@Wayne Parent, I already posted a link and explanation of how to obtain the salaries. It does not include benefits, including retirement and health insurance with retirement. Those stats can be found elsewhere. Finally, talk to us after your students have been through the wonderful Wayne school system.
Wayne Parent March 01, 2012 at 03:24 PM
See Linda...we agree on some things. I think that social promotion (passing a kid when they deserve an F just to keep them with their age group) is a bad thing. The fact is...if you look at most studies (meaning, do some research), most teachers hate this too. Teachers want to be able to fail a kid and hold them back. And many parents (like me and my wife) do everything we can at home. Do I wish many parent did more? Sure. Do I long for days where wives were expected to stay home and not pursue a career? No. Times have changed. Many families have two working parents. And those families, with effort can make it work. But it means the role of schools have to change somewhat with the times too. I go back to full day kindergarten. more than 70% of kids in our state have it. And the main benefit of it is the educational advantage it provides (our kids start first grade behind), But the other aspect is that few young families can afford to live in Wayne on one salary. Half day kindergarten is a logistical nightmare for those families (which is why the availability of full day kindergarten appears on many realtor reports on the school district). Expanding to full day to keep up with the times would be money well spent. Is there room to cut...sure. But you need to do more work than blaming the fatcat teachers to get there.
Wayne Parent March 01, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Wow Linda. I wish I saw your post before I posted mine. Dont you dare question my parenting. My wife and I are better parents that you could ever hope to be.
Wayne Voter March 01, 2012 at 03:28 PM
These budgets are decided upon by "parents". If you look at the current crop of Trustees, they all have children in the schools with the one exception. Some of them even have spouses who teach in the district. If these aren't conflicts and bias, than what is? Did you see how our latest teacher contract slid though without even a peep from anyone. That is very telling to me. Clifton is picketing because their Board is demanding something for the taxpayer. Not here. The only concession I am aware of is the 1.5% that was mandated by Trenton. I did some checking and we pay as much as $27,000 for health insurance for a teacher. According to my math "Wayne Parent", that is over $100,000 at the top of the scale. Many residents are suffering in this economy. With the current state aid and the money they banked from last year. I expect a "zero" increase this year. Enough is enough!
Linda March 01, 2012 at 03:29 PM
"Commited" being the key word, Wayne Parent.... Look, everybody's entitled to his/her own opinions, but why WHY keep raising taxes to fund the ever growing budget...are there no teachers, nor students leaving the wonderful Wayne school system yearly?? Does nobody retire, move out, move on, quit, or graduate?? Wait until your children are OUT of school, and let's see what happens...will you still want to pump thousands and thousands of dollars into the budget for a new state-of-the-art (glorified TV) presentation system, or will you just move out of town and everybody will be one big Wayne happy family again?? Read some of the other comments on here....Bob's, PAD's, Lorraine's, if you don't like my answers/comments....
Wayne Parent March 01, 2012 at 03:33 PM
So Linda..let me get it straight. When your kids were in school you were fine with families without kids in school paying into the school system. You were fine with them wanting to cut, cut, cut. You have been consistent whether you had kids in school or not? Lets be fair. You dont want to pay for a system you dont use any more.
Linda March 01, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Seeeee, Wayne Parent, you DON'T read the comments - you only have 'knee jerk' reactions and skim through what you want to chastise us about...if you read all the way through the comments, the 3rd comment on this page was by me, the "non-parent" - hubby and I chose not to pro-create, but we DO choose to NOT have to SPEND-SPEND-SPEND, annually! As another commentor stated, maybe the BOE should be audited before submitting YET ANOTHER tax hike for their outrageously exorbitant budget!! And you are somewhat correct - I'm all for a good school system, it only increase property values, but this is getting out of hand....every year (EVERY YEAR) it's "tax hike tax hike tax hike".... As I've stated in other articles regarding this subject...why not impose a 'sin tax', to help support the schools??? And what ever happened to the NJ lottery to alleviate some of the tax burden...does that only go to the Abbott districts (along with the federal funding??)?
Wayne Parent March 01, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Justice. You arent worth the time. I know the salaries. I have studied them. Again...exorbitant implies that they are out of line with comparable professionals. They are not. You want to cut them. To what? Who will become a teacher in your world? Who will incur the college debt to put themselves through college and get a masters? As for tone. I dont care for the teacher bashing. I dont care for the lynch mob mentality that people like you try to incite. I dont like bullies. Nobody goes to become a teacher for the money. There are far more lucrative careers out there. Are there bad teachers, sure. But most are hard working professionals who people like you cast as money grubbing leeches. As for my credentials. You can see them any time you want. I am trying to make it to tonights BOE meeting.
Wayne Parent March 01, 2012 at 04:06 PM
And when you say things like "teachers are poor examples of work ethic for our students" do you realize how you sound? Do you realize how children who hear you will view their teachers? Its a shame that the discourse in this country makes it acceptable to bash the educated and cast them as elitist snobs. Its a bigger shame and travesty that most people thinking this way will vote for Romney (who has an MBA and a JD from Harvard) or Santorum (who has a JD and MBA as well).
Justice March 01, 2012 at 04:11 PM
To all, there is no need to denigrate taxpayers who do not, have not or will not have students in the school system. There is also no reason that they should be burdened with excessive taxation for people who choose to have children. We need to vet-out those BOE members that have conflicts of interest and expose them for their own interests.
Justice March 01, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Wayne Voter. Thanks for that 27000 health insurance figure. Can you please also find out the following: Co-pays for doctors/hospitals/tests/prescriptions (I guarantee that they are at minimum). Age at which children are no longer covered under their parent's policy. Cost of the retiree's health insurance? Pension costs? Costs for higher education for the teachers? Survivor Benefits? Any other benefits that have yet to be exposed? Better yet, does anyone have a TEACHER'S CONTRACT that can be uploaded? Private industry has all but eliminated these benefits.
Wayne Parent March 01, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Linda...I ask this with all seriousness. You bring up the idea of a sin tax. Is a township allowed to tax things like alcohol, cigarettes, etc? I am not a tax attorney, but I thought all of those taxes were at the state level or federal level. I have never heard of a local sin tax.
Linda March 01, 2012 at 04:58 PM
WP - I'm not sure how the sin tax works - a couple of different friends/families moved to the Carolinas and that's what their school system has (they moved from Wayne) - their taxes went from approx $20K/year (Wayne) to about $2K...And they said it's a wonderful educational system (a couple of the kids, who went through HS down there, are off to IVY league colleges next year)...
Wayne Parent March 01, 2012 at 04:59 PM
And Linda...sorry I didnt know you had no kids. Still doesnt change my view. You dont get to opt out of providing public education because you dont use it. The same way you dont get to opt out of paying for the police if nobody breaks into your house, you dont get to opt out of paying for the fire department because your house doesnt catch fire. Public education is for the public and paid for by the public. As for Wayne spending like they hit the lottery...look at the last NJ report card for 2009-20010 (I coulnt find a more recent one). Wayne's cost per pupil is less than the state average by about $700 per pupil. Not more...less. Median teacher salaries are slightly higher than the state average (66K vs. 61K) which is what you would expect given the cost of living difference between Northern Jersey and some of the state not commutable to NYC. Our Administration costs, I agree are too high. But largely, it isnt that I think individual salaries are out of line...it is that there are too many administrators.
Justice March 01, 2012 at 05:03 PM
@WayneParent: "As for my credentials. You can see them any time you want. I am trying to make it to tonights BOE meeting." Where are they that I can see them any time I want? What do Romney and S... have to do with this discussion? President Obama holds many degrees; but it has nothing to do with suffocating tax hikes.
Wayne Parent March 01, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Should I bring my resume to the meeting? If I can get out of work and get there I will bring a copy just for you. Deal?
Justice March 01, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Go ahead and post your credentials online. You are the one who stated I can see them anytime I want. I want to see them now.
Al Scala March 01, 2012 at 06:50 PM
You could have all the best programs and curriculum in the world. If the teacher doesn't deliver in a way that our kids " get it ", then it means nothing. Give our teachers some credit! I think we have some wonderful teachers who are dedicated,and deliver to our students what they're supposed to and beyond. I'm sure there are some teachers that aren't worth the money they're being paid, regardless the amount. Firstly, education starts at home. If the parent doesn't do his or her job in instilling in their children the value and importance of learning, then the student and teacher start at a disadvantage! Don't blame the teacher for that. If you want to argue the merits of teacher pay, that's another story. I 'll tell you my opinion! A good teacher is worth their weight in gold!
Wayne Parent March 01, 2012 at 07:05 PM
You go Al.
Wayne Parent March 01, 2012 at 07:06 PM
I am not posting them online. That would be silly. I am not a public figure. If you want to see them, I am happy to meet. And...maybe I will consider if you switch from "Justice" to your real name.
Justice March 01, 2012 at 07:56 PM
WP, with all due respect, I do not see you using your real name.
WayneMom March 01, 2012 at 08:02 PM
@ Justice, just because bullying has 'existed or the last 50 some years' is that a reason to let it go on?? Don't you want our kids and the next generation to be better? Behave better? Learn from a young age that the advantages that media/technology has to offer can also cause problems? I agree wholeheartedly that the taxes are way too high in this town. I just think you need to investigate what actually happens in the school system before you blindly decide which jobs should be eliminated. There IS a need for the Guidance Counselors in the elementary schools. And as far as volunteering as a teacher's aide - there is no such thing as perhaps there was "50 some years" ago. Every aide in school is paid. I would love to help out the teachers. I'm tired of my kids being in classes with 27 - 28 kids, with NO aide, only 1 teacher. But that's another post/issue. And there is no WAY a 'teacher's aide' would be allowed to handle bullying these days. With the way parents are in a "not MY child" zone/accusing teachers and principals of picking on their kids/calling administration when they don't like that their badly behaved kid got in trouble - someone in an absolute authority position has to deal with bullying. A 'volunteer' handling discipline in the classroom would open up an entirely different can of worms. Should these issues be dealt with at home instead of school? Yes! But they aren't in many cases, and I for one, want to make sure my children are out of harms way.
Wayne Parent March 01, 2012 at 08:08 PM
You sholuldnt use your real name and neither should I. This is an online forum. If you want to meet offline, I am happy to do so. I wasnt indicating that I think you should use your real name, but that me posting my resume on the Wayne Patch wasnt smart either.
WayneMom March 01, 2012 at 08:45 PM
@ Linda. I agree with your comment that discipline should be at home and principals shouldn't be dealing with whiny parents. But unfortunately, there are too many parents who want to be friends with their children instead of parenting them. You can't tell someone how to parent their kids, you can only try to protect the other kids in the schools who have to interact with the badly behaved ones. And if parents in this town (and others) are whiny and feel entitled, then the children will as well. Again, it shouldn't be this way, but it is. I do not raise my children this way, but I can't shield them during the day from other kids who have no manners or discipline in their homes. I would rather have something in place to try to possibly teach those children that need the discipline and protect those being hurt or have an outlet for those being bullied.
milesrun March 01, 2012 at 11:00 PM
I am not against teachers or the BOE but I would like an explaination on why there was such a large inconsistency between the elementary schools Assessment Test. Out of all 9 schools with 27 grades ( 3rd, 4th, & 5th graders testing) one class scored in the 90's, for Language, and 1 class scored a 49.1 and 2 others scored in the 50's. We had 8 classes score in the 60's. 10 classes scored in the 70's and only 4 scored in the 80's. Our Math was better- 13 classes in the 80's, 11 in 90's & 3 in the 70's & our 4th graders all scored in the 90's for science. I know there is more to education than these test but the inconsistency is whats concerning? If we on average pay more in taxes then Bergen County's average tax. And Bergen County has the highest taxes! Where is the money going? How much $$$ is spent per child? Our rating has decreased & we should be looking at what changed? Get parents & educators to work together. In my profession- if these were my scores- answers & explanations would be expected & action would be taken. If more funds are needed ok, but throwing good money after bad has been proven not to work! Are routine BOE meetings open to parents? And in my opinion-1/2 day kindergarden is a waste- esp when comparing to other districts. We should be comparing our system to Oakland, Wyckoff, or Glen Rock even Franklin Lakes for the amount of $$$ that is put in our education system. Parents its up to us to demand more, & get more involved.
Pad March 02, 2012 at 01:38 AM
This budget is outrageous. The new Superintendant has already brought in a friend and paying her a six figure salary and she is also from that losing school district of Paterson. The Wayne BOE is causing people to move from Wayne and they don't know how to stop spending. The are few avarage homes in Wayne so most taxpayers will pay alot more then the figure they throw out. They need to make some cuts. Wayne is top heavy with six figure saleries especially in administration. Right now there is over 300 homes in foreclosure in Wayne and enrollment is dropping. The BOE has to tighten its belt 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 away. This budget would have never passed if put before the taxpayers. Very Democratic of them to do this. The Wayne BOE makes the Robber Barons of the past look like petty thieves. Vote them out!
Justice March 02, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Board of Ed. elections will remain in April for West Milford THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2012 LAST UPDATED: FRIDAY FEBRUARY 17, 2012, 1:26 AM BY ANN GENADER CORRESPONDENT
Justice March 02, 2012 at 01:52 AM
Who hired this new super anyhow? I wonder how long he will last? How many has Wayne had in the last 5 years?
Cathy Kazan March 02, 2012 at 03:38 PM
You hit that nail on the head milesrun. Apathy is part of the problem. I know parents are busy, but there needs to be more involvement. These BOE meetings are empty. I was there last night, with only three members of the public. The rest was press and faculty. I have yet to see a meeting filmed at 50 Nellis televised. Who knows when it's on 77? I sure don't. They don't allow the public to sit in and listen during their "committee" meetings. That's where all the real discussion happens, out of the public view. We deserve accountability for these test scores. Every year it's more money with less results. Not acceptable. Obviously, money is not solving the problem.


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