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State-Required Mandates Need Funding, School Board Says

Trustees vote to file a complaint with the state.

Board of Education trustee Donald Pavlak Jr. / Patch file photo.
Board of Education trustee Donald Pavlak Jr. / Patch file photo.

The Board of Education is going after what could be millions of dollars from the state to finance currently unfunded mandates.

The Board of Education made a motion at a meeting last week to file a complaint with the state regarding its failure to provide additional funding to implement several required programs and services, including the new teacher evaluation system and PARCC assessments.

The board also made a motion to submit to the state an exact amount it wants to properly fund these initiatives.

“We’re at our wits end at this point,” said trustee Laura Stinziano, who made the motion to file the complaint. “We need money for these mandates.”

Trustee Don Pavlak Jr. seconded Stinziano’s motion.

“The state is quick to come up with all of these mandates, but they won’t give us the funded needed to put them in place,” said Pavlak. “We’ve had to do everything under a hard 2 percent [budget] cap.”

As part of Governor Christie’s property tax reform approved in 2010, residents’ property taxes, with some exceptions, cannot increase more than 2 percent year over year.

Officials did not have an exact list of the required mandates or how much they would cost.

PARCC assessments are state-mandated, computer-based, language-arts tests students in grades kindergarten through 12 are required to take beginning in the 2014-15 school year. Wayne will have to purchase 600 computers in order to administer the tests.

Trustees were quick to point out that state aid to the district was the same this year as it was last year.

The district received slightly less than $3.8 million in aid this year and in 2012. The district received more than $2.8 million in aid in 2011 and only $295,000 in 2010.

Stinziano and Pavlak are up for re-election to the board in 2014.

Bill December 11, 2013 at 08:14 AM
I guess these two are starting their campaigning early. Will we get fooled again? This does not make up for the years of throwing taxpayer money down the toilet.
Chicken Little December 11, 2013 at 09:33 AM
@Bill The BOE has complained for years about unfunded mandates. Good to see they are finally trying to do something.
Wayne's World December 11, 2013 at 09:43 AM
Sobering...Wayne is the 197th ranked school district from elementary through high school according to this website. Seems based on state mandated test scores. The student teacher ratios in our elementary schools seem really high, but conversely very good in the high schools. http://www.schooldigger.com/go/NJ/districtrank.aspx According to this chart, Wayne had 8,676 students last year, so that's at least the 3rd different number I have seen in recent months. Why won't BOE just post the total amount of students on the website, or am I missing it?
Flood Plain December 11, 2013 at 10:47 AM
From the article: "Officials did not have an exact list of the required mandates or how much they would cost. " They haven't yet determined what is required, don't know the costs, and don't have an implementation plan. How do they know they need any NEW, ADDITIONAL FUNDS. It is entirely possible any new "mandates" might be paid from reducing existing UN-mandated and/or UN-needed programs. The time has long past to begin running the BOE like a business and not a piggy bank with unlimited resources plundered from the taxpayers.
Pad December 11, 2013 at 04:29 PM
Instead of wasting money on unneeded programs and the fiasco of the school bus move they should be using money from the budget. I am sure the BOE has plenty of surplus money that they don't make public. Wayne BOE is always crying poverty but yet they keep spending like no tomorrow. Spender Gonzalez has just refinished his office that was just done several years ago under Nucettelli. Installed a soundproof meeting room etc. Stop spending and you will not have to go looking for state handouts which is really more taxpayer money. Trenton doesn't print money it gets its money from taxpayers that also live in Wayne. They wanna spend another 5 million to upgrade school security this will also come from the taxpayers. Security can be increased without spending 5 million dollars. The Wayne BOE is the main cause of our tax increases while the school population is projected to drop in the coming years. They also must shoulder some of the blame for the exodus of residents and business's that are leaving Wayne due to the high taxes we are forced to pay here.
Wayne's World December 11, 2013 at 05:23 PM
Question: If we opted out of state aid, would we be exempted from Common Core and other state-mandated requirements that everyone seems to hate? I mean, the state aid is a measly 2% of our overall budget so it seems like we could lose the state aid, not have to comply with poorly designed mandates and maybe even come out ahead given that complying with the mandates seems to cost a bunch of money. We could be a fully self-funded system that acts with the freedom of a private school system. Now wouldn't THAT be a novel idea - our very own charter schools for the whole town!
joann ranalletti December 12, 2013 at 02:05 PM
Ms. Stinziano and Mr. Pavlak you must have known what all the required mandates are to incorporate CCSS ,for example the computers you now say you must purchase. Computers have been the KEY to CCSS. Every student from K-12 will be tracked every year via computers and you will need back up and software and they wil use these computers for testing so you are looking at a tremendous amount of computer work. You also do not have all your ducks in line on ifo as is reported on Patch. The fact of the matter is that CCSS is not working and many districts are aware of it and since there are 2 bills (A4403 and S 2973)before the legislature of NJ to have NJ opt out of CCSS it would seem our district would be better served to lobby with other NJ districts with our legislators to have NJ opt out of CCSS.As the proposers of this move to complain to the state for funding my question is why have you waited until now? We have been inundated with marterial on CCSS and have been involved with it for some time. It is not working..We need to get back to basics. Teachers need and want to teach more and test less, they want to use strategies and techniques that are educationally sound and will yield the learning outcomes sought for each individual child. Johhny cannot read, write cursive, spell ,do math because big business and foundations and some educators have sold a good line of nonsense to our federal and state governments that will fill their coffers. We need to get back local autonomy and it behooves the BOE to do what is best to for our educational system and that is get rid of CCSS.
Pad December 12, 2013 at 03:02 PM
Wayne changes their computers more then Fortune 500 do. Why. They are always crying the money blues. How about a full public disclosure of all funds and assets held by the Wayne BOE. Spender Gonzalez is always coming up with ways to spend our money and take care of his friends. Wayne Taxpayers Wake Up!
Jack Q December 13, 2013 at 01:04 PM
Joann, this was directed by the Obama administration, developed by academics and educators and passed by our Congress. Please don't blame big business for pushing this agenda. If you want to blame anyone, feel free to blame the NJEA and the NEA. While you want the parents, the Board members to petition the state, why is the union still silent on this issue if it is failing their membership so badly? To me, that doesn't make sense. I agree that education, along with other issues, belong at the state level. But please lay the blame where the blame is due.
Al Scala December 13, 2013 at 02:48 PM
JackQ.....That's right Jack. Let's blame this whole mess on the teachers. In fact, let's blame this snowstorm we're going to get on the teachers as well. In fact, there is no tailgating allowed at the SuperBowl. Let's blame that on the NJEA and NEA. I have a bad cold. I think I'll blame that on the NEA and NJEA. Take your head out of your ass for a few minutes. You'll feel better!
Justice December 13, 2013 at 06:04 PM
Too much Rush Limbaugh and right wing fanaticism.
Jack Q December 14, 2013 at 06:35 AM
Al, I'm not blaming the teachers at all. I'm blaming the leadership of the unions. When this was being developed, what were the teachers unions doing? Supporting Obama who's administration developed this mess of a program. On the other hand Al, when Christie wanted to develop a rating system for teachers' tenure, the Wayne schools were filled with substitute teachers that day because the NJEA descended on Trenton to protest So, let's not pretend that the unions were not complicit in the development of the CCSS. And let's not pretend that this was not created by academics and teachers, because it was. It's not corporations fault, its not the board's fault, its the Democratic administration who thinks they have a one size fits all solution for everything. The teachers were sold a bill of goods and now they want out. I can't blame them. Education should be left at the local and state levels. I'm not blaming the teachers at all. I think they got sold a bill of goods from their union leaders.
Al Scala December 14, 2013 at 07:25 AM
Jack...the genesis of this CCSS was in the hands of POLITICIANS. Yes Jack, POLITICIANS. And, yes private business. A consortium of state governors got involved with private business and foundations, ( Gates Foundation, Broad Foundation, etal) This was initially to be rolled out on poor performing districts, preferably urban areas. This got tied in with Obama's Race to the Top program which replaced No Child Left Behind. Christie jumped on it because of the federal grant money given. He'd take free money anywhere from anyone, regardless of the consequences.. Go onto the Broad Foundation website. Their mantra is "Working to ensure every student in an urban school has an opportunity to succeed" look at the words URBAN EDUCATION. I'm certainly not knocking Eli and Edythe Broad who are very generous and philanthropic. But one size fits all education isn't appropriate for Wayne. With Obama's Race To The Top and Bill Gates and Eli Broad involved, I get the feeling that kids from urban districts are the real targets here. The only thing Congress may have done was approve funding for this CRAP! Google this mess and you'll get an eye opener on who is involved with this thing. There is a flow chart in one of the articles that describes who is involved. Believe it or not, even the Council on a Foreign Relations got their hands in this! God knows why! And yes Jack, I agree with you. The NJEA, WEA, etal have done a lousy job. No, a terrible job, in confronting this.The teachers in Wayne are still in the dark on a lot of this. There are too many unknowns here. Will this cause teachers to teach to the test? Teachers should educate, not facilitate. Companies like PARC , and Strong Associates stand to make a lot of money off this, via our tax money. Parents should be up in arms over this. Our Board and Administration has done a lousy job in articulating to us what this is all about. Frankly, I don't think they are all that well versed in it. Welcome to this mess Jack. Education will become like one big pot of beef stew. Put all the kids in one pot, G & T, Special needs, average, B students, C students. Just keep testing them all. Welcome to Common Core Jack!
Jack Q December 14, 2013 at 09:49 AM
Al, this is a perfect example of when government gets too big. Leave the states to themselves. If you (the government) want to help the poorer districts, fine. Help the poorer districts through the state. Leave (or just support) the healthier districts and be done with it. I really hope that something gets passed on the state level to pull us out of this program. It doesn't help the students or the teachers. Teachers main focus should be on teaching, not teaching to test.
Al Scala December 14, 2013 at 09:59 AM
Jack.....look at this. Interesting. Jack....look at this! http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/18442-flow-chart-exposes-common-cores-myriad-corporate-connections#.Uqt24EmLB8k.email
joann ranalletti December 14, 2013 at 12:22 PM
I have tried posting 5 times and it would not take. Al, you have essentially answered Jack Q but I will add my thoughts. Jack I know this all began at the federal level and trickled down to the states and it was largely due to the Gates Foundation(MET) some academic theorists(who do not represent all the teachers) and who may or may not have ever been in the classroom as teachers and big business. All of whom will profit or are profiting in some way from this CCSS. Big business is not new to educational trends and like ETS has profited for years from SAT tests for example. As for technology industries our students from K-12 will be computer tracked and will use computers for testsing ,among other things, and that translates into the continual use of software for new tests, programs and maintenance and back-up systems. So who stands to gain most...not our teachers nor our students . Our teachers and students are guinea pigs in a political/business game and this has to end. It can end with all of us lending our voices thru the democratic process of contacting our federal representatives, our state representatives our Governor, Commissioner Cerf and let them know how devastating this CCSS is to education. Contact the NJEA and NEA to further lobby and put pressure on government. Use the democratice process because it can work if we all join hands and show our strength. NJEA and NEA are working and providing materials for us to read on the web and in magazines. I call your attention to NJEA Review Dec. 2013 edition p.10-12 and related articles. As for the WEA, the teachers surely have made known their unhappiness about the ineffectiveness of CCSS but what WEA is doing I am not aware. Also put pressure on the BOE of Wayne and the super and his entourage to stop the smoke and mirrors game and let Trenton know how ineffective this CCSS is. All we need is for NJ to opt out and we can get back to basics and our teachers will be able to teach more, test less and our children will learn more and have less anxiety and we can get rid of all this nonsense like the 4,3,2,1 assessment system of our elementary schools as well as other unsound educational practices.
joann ranalletti December 14, 2013 at 12:25 PM
Al, You are right on in all you have posted on Dec. 14 at 7.25 AM. You are weel versed in what you write.
Al Scala December 14, 2013 at 12:52 PM
Joann.....thank you for your kind words. I'm not sure how well versed I am in this, however, the more I read about this, and the more hands and interests that are involved in this, the more questions I have..It seems like a convoluted mess. Jack, I also am a proponent of less Federal Government and stronger state's rights.
Justice December 14, 2013 at 03:51 PM
Are home schooled children subjected to this nonsense? Does this apply to private schools?
joann ranalletti December 14, 2013 at 04:08 PM
Justice, At this point home schooled children are not subject to CCSS.
joann ranalletti December 18, 2013 at 06:46 PM
Hi All, Just had a thought. Why has the PTO Council not taken a stand in this CCSS? I would think that they should be asking the BOE questions as they have been quite involved in the past in supporting candidates to run for the BOE.
KrisTee December 20, 2013 at 01:50 PM
No matter what the BOE does, what teachers do and how much money is spent, if kids don't want to learn they will not learn. School rankings shouldn't be a dark mark against the school system.
Wayne's World December 20, 2013 at 02:02 PM
KrisTee - I'm having trouble understanding this reasoning. Aside from youthful rebelliousness, haven't the passing generations proven that people WANT to learn? I mean, it's up to teachers and parents to motivate, cajole, impose, nurture, etc. the learning process, but your comment almost seems like a carte blanche statement that there's nothing we can do about any of the malaise that has hit Wayne Schools. School rankings matter greatly, not least of which for home resale values...many of the "better" towns that we discuss on this board for the most part are not more upscale than Wayne - the difference is they have highly ranked school systems, which in turn attracts people willing to pay more to live there. Now, Wayne still has a respected school system and we are at the front of the "second tier" around the 15-20th percentile, so overall that's not bad...but it's a fall from where we used to be. A lot has changed, mostly for the worse, but kids themselves haven't changed all that much. Our lowered expectations of them and their elevated freedoms have changed, but a kid is still a kid....and if you challenge him/her, set expectations and consequences, they'll learn. The school system is obviously a collective effort of everyone and in that respect any "dark mark" belongs to us all.
KrisTee December 20, 2013 at 07:26 PM
Lowered expectations of them... yes, you're quite right. My neighbor told me the other day she had to give her daughter hand soap, toilet paper and a hand towel to use in school since the facilities can't seem to provide them. The books used are an embarrassment in terms of their condition, writing and broken bindings... How the heck do students feel when they don't even have basic toiletries in the bathrooms or decent books to learn from?? What kind of advancement has the school system performed each year to benefit our students? Or is it just "status quo" year after year even though the BOE makes some whiny reason to raise taxes. The BOE has the money to do what they need to do. We have some pretty good teachers in the school system and I know that they aren't the ones reaping the benefits from the high BOE taxes. Oh, its Wayne Hills High School if anyone wants to know.

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