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School Board Election Moved to November

Residents can no longer vote on tax levy, unless it is more than 2 percent cap.

The voted Thursday to move the school board election to November and all but eliminated a public vote on the district tax levy beginning this year.

The tax levy would only go to voters if it exceeded a state-mandated 2 percent cap.

“This does not give us carte blanche to do whatever we want,” said Board President Donald Pavlak Jr. “There are still hard decisions to be made. Even at the 2 percent cap, we’re still looking at cutting a substantial amount of money out of the budget to get to or under the cap.”

Pavlak said that the district’s budget process and transparency with residents will not change. The state Education Department and county superintendent will still review the budget. At least two public hearings, one at each high school, will be held before the Board approves the budget.

The change will impact this year’s election, with two board members, Kim Essen and Jane Hutchinson, running this year. The measure will remain in effect until 2015.

Officials said they can now develop a four-year, comprehensive financial plan rather than go year to year like they have in the past. The uncertainty of what the district would receive in state aid, and planning on year-to-year basis, made it difficult to get a clear long-term picture of the district’s finances.

“It puts us in a much stronger financial position where we can now project out,” Pavlak said. “Even with the 2 percent cap, how much are we getting in state aid? We don’t know. How can you put a budget together when you don’t know what one of your revenue lines is going to be? You have to base the budget on what we got last year. How do you create financial stability by doing that? You can’t.”

Proponents of the new law hope the move will increase the number of people who vote in the election. On average, only about 10 percent of registered voters go to the polls for school board elections. Pavlak said there have been years where the turnout has been even less than that in Wayne.

The move will save the district approximately $50,000 annually.

Voters narrowly .

The defeat allowed the .

Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation earlier this week allowing school boards statewide to make the changes.

The New Jersey School Boards Association expressed support for the new law, noting the public doesn’t vote on other government budgets. 

“Proposed budgets undergo thorough review by the state Department of Education to ensure efficiency, and they are controlled by the same 2-percent tax levy cap as are municipal and county budgets, which are not presented to voters,” New Jersey School Boards Association Executive Director Marie Bilik said in a statement.

Tell us what you think by voting in the poll or posting a comment at the bottom of this article.

Bob January 25, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Al, this is how the BOE in Wayne works, that Board office is nothing more then a bunch of VERY OVER PAID people sucking up every dollar they can and doing little for it. Its time the bull stops in this town, we dont need to have these over paid big shots who need to hire an ass't, who needs an ass't, who need an ass't. The wast of money is out of control and has been like this for years!!!!!! They are the reason we are being tax to death in this town. As far as doing better with a superintendent, you would think that we would look for someone that did not come from a system that was ran so bad that the State had to take it over, what does this say about the standards of this town!!!! Wayne has become a joke, and this is why so many people are looking to move out!!
Al Scala January 25, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Bob, I totally agree with what you say. Just keep that thought and in November, vote these people OUT.
Pad January 27, 2012 at 02:39 AM
Leave Paterson (The worse school district in the State). Come to Wayne. ( Where we have endless taxpayer dollars to fill your pockets) Sign a contract, leave before fufilling it and we will pay you going out the door out the door. But for your short time here bring in your friends and we will pay them too. When will the taxpayers in Wayne have the BALLS to put a stop to this? Taxpayers are being taxed to death. There are now over 300 foreclosures in Wayne, vacant ratable commercial properties etc etc. You know who makes up for this shortage of tax income coming in? We do the remaining taxpayers, thats who. The BOE members have to go. After all they are just a bunch of political wannabe's using thier position as a stepping stone into politics. The Wayne School District is becoming the laughing stock of the County. Wise up taxpayers, its your money they are spending with no end in sight.
Equality July 02, 2012 at 11:02 PM
When you pay the property taxes, you are legally consenting to the tax bill. Only if they cannot collect the taxes, will they be forced to ask for more aid from the state. Custom or policy of paying the entire tax levy is one of the factors of the formula.
Bob July 03, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Folks, lets face it, its all make smoke and mirrors , they will just do whatever they want in the end as they have always done.

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