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Board Approves $126.6 Million Tax Levy

Board members bicker over $400,000.

The Wayne Board of Education approved a $126.6 million tax levy Thursday night.

Residents of a home valued at $230,000, the township average, will see their tax bill increase $254. The tax levy for the 2010-2011 academic year was $123 million.

District officials had a somewhat tumultuous time creating a budget this year due to a 2 percent cap on property tax increases imposed by Governor Chris Christie and state lawmakers. The total anticipated budget for the 2011-2012 academic year is nearly $140.9 million.

Despite the fiscal constraints, district officials said that the budget is $400,000 less than the 2 percent cap limit. There will be no reduction in the number of current programs or services offered to students. Officials did mention that there are capital improvement projects slated for the upcoming school year, including a new telephone and public address system for A.P. Terhune and John F. Kennedy Elementary Schools.

Interim Superintendent Michael Roth said that it is difficult for a family, let alone a school district, to operate on a budget where the largest source of revenue can increase by no more than 2 percent year to year.

The number of special education students is expected to increase from 971 to 1,007. However, the district’s total number of enrolled students is expected to decrease slightly from 8,676 to 8,651.

The district’s total operating budget is expected to increase nearly $4 million from $130 to $134 million.

There was a bit of infighting that occurred between board president Robert Ceberio and board members Darren Del Sardo and Joanie Walsh. Del Sardo and Walsh mentioned possibly moving $400,000 back into the school budget. Ceberio said that they were making moving money “a campaign issue.”

“We’re not campaigning, we’re discussing,” Walsh said.

The discussion continued for a few minutes before Walsh, Del Sardo, and Ceberio apologized to each other. Walsh and Del Sardo, along with Don Pavlak Jr., are running for re-election to the board this year.

“I’m going to support the budget the way it is,” said Pavlak, who noted that the district made cuts to certain line items, such as postage, in this year’s budget to cope with the 2 percent cap and slumping economy. “Money needs to go to the teachers and into the classrooms. That’s what makes our schools viable.”

There will be a greater effort to make more documents, such as progress reports and report cards, available online in the upcoming academic year.

Members of the public stressed to district officials the need for residents to approve the tax levy in April.

“We need to get out there and make sure [it] passes, it’s critical,” said Bethania Marmolejos, president of the Special Parents Association of the Wayne Council of PTOs. “The different between a Third-World country and America is our education.”

Other residents said that the district must hire a permanent superintendent as soon as possible.

“You [the board] keep asking for more, I want a superintendent,” said T.J. D’Apoltio. “That’s the stepping stone, that’s what we need to get into place.”

Board members said that a contract was in place between a candidate and the board, but the state rejected it. Gov. Christie also implemented a pay cap on superintendent salaries. Wayne’s superintendent salary will be $175,000, now the maximum allowed.

Board member Jane Hutchison said that the board accomplished what it said it would when the budgetary process began.

“We have maintained our instructional programs,” Hutchison said. “We had to be mindful of our fiscal responsibility to taxpayers and also be mindful that we have a responsibility to the students of this district.”

Bobtwo March 25, 2011 at 10:50 PM
Because of the taxes, imposed on our citizens, we are becoming a third world country, or haven't they noticed. If the budget is defr=eated the concil will cut 500 hundred thousand from a 130 million dollar budget and have it approved. What a joke. This is why people don't vote.
Cooked Mussels March 25, 2011 at 11:35 PM
If Don Pavlak thinks "money needs to go to the teachers" he needs to be DEFEATED in his reelection bid. The Wayne teachers have had a contract giving them 4% raises annually while the unemployment rate skyrocketed. The teachers need a new contract with no raises, mandates for them to make significant contributions to their health insurance and premiums, and the death of tenure.
Bobtwo March 26, 2011 at 12:24 AM
Well said Mussels. Could not have said it better myself. You know where we are headed, they will frighten all of the parents and convince them that we need to pass the budget or the township will become a ghetto. I have seen this in the past. Unfortunately these people will remain on the board or be replaced by the same type. I recall many years ago, a young woman was running for the board and asked me for my vote. She assured me that she was for reducing the budget. Ha, Ha don't believe them. She never voted against the budget.
Nora Kay March 26, 2011 at 01:02 PM
Mussels could not have said it any better!!!!!!!!!! I only received 1.5% increase this past year and don't know what the future holds. Do away with tenure in order to get out some of these dinosaurs the Wayne school system refers to as teachers. My children were graduates of this sytem and for the most part were educated by dinosaurs who were only interested as to when they were going to see that big pension check and not interested in the children at all.
Bobtwo March 26, 2011 at 01:23 PM
Like yourself many in private industry have not received an increase or a very small increase over the past few years. Why do these muncipal employees think that they are exempt from wage freeze or layoffs. You are correct about their (teachers) only interest being in their pensions. It is the same all over. A number of years ago, as a private consultant, I had an assignment at the BOE in NYC. The conversation from the beginning of the day to the end of the day was about the latest contract. As I recall there was not any work to be done. If you want to be paid on par with private industry than you must also face the same responsibilities and draw backs as private industry. No pensions, contribute or pay in full for hospitalization, limited vacation and holidays, layoffs, wage freeze, etc.
Pad March 26, 2011 at 10:02 PM
What they cut from this budget is a shame. My taxes rise $600-1000.00 a year in Wayne. I haven't had a raise in 3 years. Pavlak is a Police Officer in Wayne so he is all for these raises and outrageous benefits. Gee, we saved money on postage. How bout cutting some of these useless programs, the nine period school day. I am all broken up about the Superintendants salary not being approoved by the state. Again, Wayne is paying too much just to make them look better then the next town. The last 2 Super's left with thier pockets full of taxpayers money. The last didn't even last a school year. What a joke. The BOE always has the same BS reply when questioned about issues. "Well that was the previous board" etc. They are killing Wayne. People are leaving, houses are vacant, for sale or in foreclosure. Cutting $400.000 from a proposed 141 million dollar budget for one school year is a joke.
Pad March 26, 2011 at 10:10 PM
Cooked Mussels You are so right. They are paid very well in Wayne and the administrators salaries should be froze. They should cut a few out. As for the Superintendant pay no where except in NJ & NY do they make this amount of money. Most are retired school administrators who are collecting thier pensions, recieving taxpayer paid lifetime health benefits and then come to Wayne to fill thier pockets with $200, 000 a year salaries. They could care less about the kids and the district. It's stay awhile, fill my pockets with our money and then on to the next high bidder. What BS. The Good Ole Boy Club at its best.
Bobtwo March 27, 2011 at 01:32 AM
I am glad to see that many of us are in agreement. Again the problem is even if we defeat the budget it gets past anyway. The council members will do anything to get reelected no matter what they say. They will support the BOE even if they don't speak to them. This truly is disgusting. As stated the teachers get a 4% increase while others in private industry receive zero or not much above zero. Many people no longer have jobs or have been out of work for one to two years. Also since Pavlak is a police officer his service on the board should be considered a conflict of interest. If the teacher’s salaries are high than his salary will remain high. The whole thing stinks.
Wayne Voter March 27, 2011 at 03:42 PM
Great comments from everyone. I'm glad to see that some of us are paying attention. A few things I would like to add though would be the fact that the Board President just announced his bid for Freeholder. He was just elected last year. Why run if you don't plan to complete your term and do what you said you would do. He is one of the few up there who can be part of the important negotiations for the teacher contract. People need to pay attention. There are several Board Trustees who are not allowed to take part because of conflicts of interest. Also, if he is out and there are others with conflicts, that leaves only three trustees who can negotiate. Why do we elect nine if we only get to utilize three? If two of the incumbents are not reelected we will have novices in their spots with no experience or training in this important issue. I say two because as mentioned above, one of them also has a conflict of interest in this area. People need to be more diligent in their voting choices. This is not the first time we have had a trustee who uses our kids as a stepping stone in their personal political aspirations.
Pad March 27, 2011 at 04:26 PM
Like I said before. Alot of these people are politcal wannbe's. The average taxes if this school budget passes will be $500.00 to $1000.00 for most taxpayers in Wayne. Most house's are assessed at over $234,000.00. This is just a smoke and mirrors game perpetuated by the BOE on the taxpayers of this township. VOTE NO. People are leaving Wayne in droves and the ones left will keep paying more & more. Can you imagine one BOE member stating we have to take care of the teacher's. What BS they rushed thier last contract thru before the Caps were in place and they recieved 4% for each year. They are taking care of thier own with complete disregard for the taxpayers of this Township.
Pad March 27, 2011 at 09:52 PM
Oh, BTW youmeant FREELOADER not FREEHOLDER. PLease correct yourself.
Bobtwo March 27, 2011 at 10:15 PM
No matter what we say I am afraid we will be disappointed. The UFT will frighten the young parents and the politicians will bend. The voting public does not realize that any budget can be reduced by at least 10%. Those that vote against the budget are not against education but are for fiscal responsibility. This is not the time to increase the budget but to look for ways to reduce it. Giving salary increases is not the answer. I was told recently that there are over 600 homes in default in Wayne. This should be told to the public and the reasons for it. There are too many unemployed, from private industry, and too many non civil servants that have not received a salary increase in years. We can go on and on about this but I am afraid that the highest taxed state will remain the highest taxed state.
Wayne Voter March 28, 2011 at 12:02 AM
Obviously you can all show your disocntent about the budget at the voting booth. But, that does not mean you should be apathetic as to who sits on the Board. I just think we should make as informed a choice as possible in this upcoming election. The teacher contract is going to be negotiated by whoever wins.
Pad March 28, 2011 at 01:20 AM
There will never be a member of the BOE or a candidate that has the best interest of the taxpayer as his number one concern. It has to be a reasonable balance between both the school distric and the taxpayers needs. But I am afraid its just been all one sided towards the benefit of the school district, teachers & administrators pay and themselves. It's not going to change. Even if a really concerned taxpayer made it to the BOE as a member the others will just out vote him. Hell, they never listen to the taxpayers who have went to the BOE meetings and stated more has to be cut to keep this town affordable for those that live here and to stem the tide of those leaving because of the high taxes we pay here.
Potter March 28, 2011 at 01:47 AM
On April 5th at 7:00pm, Candidate's Night will be at the Wayne Municipal Building. You can attend or watch on channel 77 and hear all of the candidates answer questions so that you can make an informed decision on election day. And bear in mind that the incumbents haven't accomplished much so maybe it's time for some new voices on the Board.
Paul March 28, 2011 at 02:11 AM
WAKE UP citizens of Wayne! It's time to SAY NO to the School Board and their appitite for spending our money. And when the School Budget is defeated, we need to stand up to the Township Council and tell the ENOUGH IS ENOUGH too. Our pay checks are not going up during these "troubled times" while the cost of everything else is....including the salaries of our public employees....teachers included. It's time the make the sacrifice along with the rest of us. VOTE NO TO THE SCHOOL BUDGET !
DrSmithNJ April 01, 2011 at 10:48 AM
VOTE YES FOR YOUR CHILDREN!!!
Bobtwo April 01, 2011 at 11:49 AM
I notice that we have some one who calls himself/herself Dr. Smith and that suggest that we vote yes for the school budget. Let's take a look at health care and what our costs are for insurance, etc and than decide if you want to follows this persons advice. And if this person is not in the medical profession than he must be an educator looking out for himself, using the children as an excuse. This is old trick and they have been doing it for years.
Pad April 01, 2011 at 07:01 PM
Vote Yes for the children. ARE YOU KIDDING ME. No child in the Wayne school system want's for anything. Your money is being wasted on the last two Super's who left or were asked to leave who left with thier pockets full, the house at Wayne Hills whose owner made a lot of money before the Wayne BOE found out they couldn't legally do what they were doing. A teachers contract that was pused thru just before the State CAPS went into effect giving them 4% raises for the life of the contract etc etc etc. To cut $400,000.00 off a 141 million dollar a year school budget is pure disregard for the taxpayers of this Township who are struggling. See all the homes for sale, the foreclosures that number well over 500. The main reason is the high taxes here and the number 1 reason is the BOE never ending demand for more & more. Oh gee, we cut postage cost and will save paper. Are they for real. Let's see some real cuts. Not this mediocre stuff. Its buisness as usual at the Wayne BOE. JUST VOTE NO NO NO.
raised in wayne April 01, 2011 at 08:48 PM
DrSmithNJ must be a teacher, or related to one. I am an RN with one child left in the school system. I have 10 paid days off each year, from which I must take sick, vacation and holiday (yes, if I wish to have Christmas or Thanksgiving off, I must use one of my days)! I pay 13% of my salary for my family's health insurance and have not had a raise in many years. My health insurance costs rise each year, along with the deductibles and copays. There is NO WAY I will vote for a budget that gives teachers ANY kind of raise or increase in health benefits. Increasing their benefits DOES NOT make them better teachers! As in any profession, there are good and bad, but in teaching, there is tenure, so...the bad remain and keep making more money. I will NOT vote for the budget and can't wait until my child is finished in June!
Bobtwo April 01, 2011 at 09:17 PM
Thanks Fed Up. I wish more people would read your comment. By the way that was 13% of her salary not 13% of the insurance premium.

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